OWEN Dale was Oxford United’s first signing on deadline day, arriving from Blackpool for an undisclosed fee.

Dale came through the academy at Crewe Alexandra, and went on to score 15 goals in 109 appearances across all competitions for the Cheshire side.

He joined Blackpool, initially on loan with an option to buy, in September 2021. Including when he signed permanently the following January, Dale netted six times in 47 games for the Seasiders.

He spent last season on loan at Portsmouth, and played 50 times for the south coast club.

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Dale has played most of his football this season as a wing back in Blackpool’s preferred 3-5-2 formation, scoring four goals in 32 matches.

We spoke to the Blackpool Gazette’s sports reporter Amos Wynn to find out more about the 25-year-old winger.

What are Owen Dale’s main qualities and strengths?

He’s certainly a hard-working player, and gave his all for Blackpool, even when featuring in an unnatural position. He also has good movement off the ball, and finds himself in good areas when he is more advanced.

He’s played most of the season at wing back, but is he more suited to being a traditional winger?

He did a solid job stepping into the wing back role, and was probably Blackpool’s best option in that area during the first half of the season, despite it not being a natural position for him. He’s definitely more suited to being further up the field, with cup games mainly providing him with that chance for Blackpool.

Oxford Mail:

Was it a surprise that he left Blackpool?

In a way it was as he had performed well when given opportunities during the first half of the season. Equally you can understand the decision, as the club had brought in Hayden Coulson on loan to play the left wing back role, and Andy Lyons is also competing for that position. As well as this, Dale’s contract was up in the summer, so it was smart business to get a fee for him. The most surprising thing was selling him to a team also aiming for a top six spot.

Given that he’s played in the Championship before, and based on his form this season, do you think he’s got the ability to play there again?

Based on this season, he wouldn’t necessarily be someone a Championship club would look at. Yes, he’s enjoyed good spells, but hasn’t played consistently and really stood out enough. Nonetheless, if he was to go up with a team, then there’s no reason why he wouldn’t be able to compete and would still be a good option.