Cook on Richardson taking Wigan job and assistant manager speculation

Leam Richardson and Paul Cook will not be reuniting at Ipswich Town

Leam Richardson and Paul Cook will not be reuniting at Ipswich Town. - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook wouldn't be drawn on speculation about potential backroom staff appointments following the news that his previous long-term assistant Leam Richardson had taken the Wigan manager's job full-time.

Richardson, who was Cook's trusted right-hand man over a seven-year period at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan, stayed on at the DW Stadium to become their caretaker manager following the shock administration and relegation which led to Cook's exit.

It was expected that Richardson would join up with Cook again at Portman Road at the end of this season, but he has now agreed to stay in charge of an in-form Latics side who are now under new ownership and stand a good chance of beating the drop.

Speaking ahead of his return to Wigan last month, Cook described Richardson as 'his absolute rock' and said the pair were 'solid as they come'. Richardson, upon signing his three-year deal at Wigan yesterday, admitted he speaks to Cook every day and that 'it was no secret he did want me down there'. 

“It’s football guys, isn’t it? It’s circumstances. It’s all of the above," said Cook.

“If anyone could have predicted the outcome for Wigan’s scenario, coming up for 12 months on (from his departure), no-one would have. 

“We had staff there. Anthony Barry is now Chelsea’s first team coach; Nick Colgan, who is now Notts Forest’s goalkeeping coach; Andrew Procter (medical), who is at Blackburn; Nick Meace (sports science), who is at Stoke. The list goes on. 

“All that shows to me is how lucky and privileged I was to have such good staff working for me. 

Most Read

“That cycle, for me, has gone on since my start in management at Sligo, into Chesterfield, into Portsmouth, into Wigan and it will go on. 

“The most important thing for Paul Cook is my burning desire and ambition to be successful and win football games.  

“Unfortunately those staff have moved on and all with my blessing, absolutely. When you’re out of work it’s a tough time for everyone. 

“Paul Cook didn’t know when he’d come back into work. I can’t ask lads to sit at home and wait for me to make a decision. 

Swindon Town coach Noel Hunt during the Sky Bet League One match at the Energy Check County Ground,

Former Ipswich striker Noel Hunt was the assistant manager of Swindon up last December. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

“People have families, players out of contract have families. Nowadays, especially with what’s going on in the world, it’s tough out there for people.  

“I’m in a very privileged position. I’m football manager of a great club. That, behind the scenes, will change for me. 

“I will be working with new personnel, new staff going forwards. As long as the staff have the same hunger and desire to be successful, and enthusiasm, which is huge in football – too many people talk a good game and don’t produce, a bit like myself at Ipswich at the minute – and then everything will be fine at the club."

There are already a couple of names in the frame to be Cook's new No.2.

Former Colchester United manager John McGreal, a fellow Liverpudlian who played alongside Cook at Tranmere, has been at Playford Road on a number of occasions in recent weeks, while recent Swindon Town assistant boss Noel Hunt, who played under Cook at Portsmouth and Wigan, was in attendance for Tuesday night's 3-0 loss at Northampton.

Cook has already appointed his former Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan signing Gary Roberts to the first team staff, the 37-year-old former Ipswich winger making his first steps into coaching.

Matt Gill remains as a first team coach, with Under-23s boss Kieron Dyer taking on a more central role with the first team since Cook's arrival.

Goalkeeper coach Jimmy Walker recently departed, with Carl Pentney having stepped up from the academy for the remainder of the season.

Former Colchester United boss John McGreal is looking to return to management

Former Ipswich Town defender and Colchester United manager John McGreal is one of the favourites for the Carlisle United job. - Credit: PA

Asked about potential backroom staff appointments, Cook said: “As you can imagine, everyone is jittery. It’s not a good time. All our fans are jittery. Our results are not good enough. 

“I can’t remember ever in my career losing games like I’m losing, ever. So you can imagine the hurt I’m feeling and the pain I’m feeling.  

“Not towards the players, but towards myself. I should be doing better. First and foremost, Paul Cook should be doing better. I’m not making excuses on staff coming in and this that and the other. 

“So at the minute guys, if we can, we’ll concentrate on Wimbledon (at home) tomorrow. All those other guys will be answered in time for you. I’m sorry I can’t elaborate, but at the minute I want to win football games. I don’t like getting beat."

Town are five points outside the League One play-off places with just four games to go.

Kieron Dyer supervising the warm-up at Charlton Athletic

Kieron Dyer supervising the warm-up at Charlton Athletic. Photo: Pagepix - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter