Cook on appointing Roberts and the potential for Richardson reunion


New Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook has appointed Gary Roberts (left) as a first team coach and says Wigan manager Leam Richardson (right) could potentially join him in the summer. Photos: Archant/PA - Credit: Archant/PA

New Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook believes Gary Roberts has the desire to go far as a coach and has hinted that he could be reunited with trusted assistant Leam Richardson in the summer.

Roberts, 36, was signed as a player by Cook at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan, making more than 200 appearances under his fellow Liverpudlian.

He was still registered as a player this season, making a handful of appearances for League One side Accrington Stanley, but has been brought to Portman Road by Cook for his first coaching role.

Roberts, of course, made more than 50 appearances for the Blues between 2006 and 2008. 

"He’s had enough of me shouting at him on the pitch, so he’s coming to join me as a coach instead!" joked Cook.

"I told him the only reason he’s come over with me is because the Ipswich fans like him! 

"It’s a way in, isn’t it? Gary’s played for me at three clubs now. Gary knows everything I want out of players. Footballers nowadays, some of them enjoy being footballers but they’re not prepared to give football their life. And if you want to be successful in football, you’ve got to sacrifice.

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"He’s had a great career. He only stopped playing for me at Wigan last year. He epitomises sometimes what I like about the game.

"You don’t have to play well every week to be a good player. But you’ve got to want to want to play well, you’ve got to work to play well. I think Gary’s messages will be very, very similar to my own.”

He continued: "Listen, Gary’s enthusiasm for football should be a given but unfortunately now in the modern world, the enthusiasm for the game isn’t there with certain people. Gary will give me that in abundance.

"It’s his first job in coaching, but last time at Wigan we gave Anthony Barry his first job. Anthony (34) is now first-team coach at Chelsea and has just taken a job with the Republic of Ireland national team, so these young coaches get opportunities and can go on. Gary will be a great addition to the coaching staff."

First team coach Matt Gill and keeper coach Jimmy Walker, both appointed by previous boss Paul Lambert, have been asked to stay on and work with Cook.

Cook's trusted assistant boss Leam Richardson stayed on at Wigan to become their manager and is currently trying to keep them in League One during the middle of a protracted takeover.

Asked if there would be any further additions to his staff, the Blues boss said: "Watch this space. As I said to Marcus (Evans), let’s get in.

"Leam Richardson’s been my assistant manager at every club.

"But, what I did feel alongside speaking with Leam, the reality of revisiting that situation when Wigan are in a relegation fight, when we both have a massive affinity to Wigan Athletic Football Club, is that I didn’t think that would be correct and proper enough to visit that situation now. So maybe we might revisit that situation at a later date.

"But going forward, I want everybody to feel that they’re going to get the correct opportunity to be part of the future success for the club."

He added: "To be successful as a manager you need good support staff and people around you.

"Football clubs should be the happiest places in the world, we’re privileged to be in the jobs that we are, and while managers certainly take the brunt of it in terms of criticisms and being sacked, there are so many people behind them, that can support them and help towards success.

"I’ve been very lucky, at all my clubs, that my support staff has been very strong. Going forward at Ipswich I’m going to need all that help from everyone here. And together we might achieve something."

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