Cook on whether he's missing the influence of Richardson

Town manager Paul Cook looks on.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook believes talk about him needing an experienced No.2 has been overplayed, but says he is open to the idea of the club strengthening the coaching staff further.

The Blues' eight-game winless start to the campaign has sparked a debate about whether Cook is missing the influence of his long-term trusted assistant manager Leam Richardson.

Cook and Richardson worked together at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan over a seven-year period, winning league titles at all three clubs.

Cook described Richardson as being 'an absolute rock for me' upon taking the Ipswich job back in March and made it clear he wanted to be reunited with him at Portman Road.

Wigan Athletic manager Leam Richardson applauds the players during the Sky Bet League One match at t

Leam Richardson turned down the chance to be reunited with Paul Cook at Ipswich Town to become permanent manager of Wigan Athletic. - Credit: PA

But Richardson turned down that approach to become permanent manager of Wigan following an impressive season-long stint as caretaker.

Cook has appointed three fellow Liverpudlians to make up his first team coaching staff - Gary Roberts, who has only just retired from playing, Ian Craney, who was the kit man at Wigan, and Francis Jeffers, who was Everton U23s coach.

Richardson's new-look Wigan have won four of their opening six games to sit second in League One, while Cook's new-look Ipswich sit 22nd after drawing three and losing three.

"In football, rightly or wrongly, questions are always asked - I've never a problem with that," said Cook, ahead of tomorrow's game at Lincoln City.

"If you look back on my time previously, things have gone well. So when Ipswich Town aren't doing so well, that will be a natural question.

Town manager Paul Cook looks on.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook alongside coaches Francis Jeffers and Gary Roberts. - Credit: Steve Waller - www.stephenwaller

"Mark Ashton (CEO), Michael O'Leary (chairman) and our board have given me every encouragement to look at every aspect of what we're doing and how can we make it better.

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"So just like our supporters, we look at the club in the same light. We always think 'have we got enough?'

"But if you look back, for example, at Macauley Bonne's miss at Cheltenham - was that due to my assistant manager not being in the dugout? I don't really think so.

"If you look at Lee Evans standing on the ball against whoever it was at home and giving the goal away - was that down to an assistant manager issue?

"We've got a great belief in making the club better. If we feel that experience should come in (to help the coaching team), I'd be all for it. I'd be all for anything that makes this football club better. 

John McGreal, John Keeley and Francis Jeffers watch on during Town Under 23s' game with Wigan

Former Colchester United boss John McGreal (left) watches Ipswich Town's U23s in action at Portman Road alongside goalkeeper coach John Keeley and first team coach Francis Jeffers. - Credit: Ross Halls

"In my world, the thing that will make this football club better is more time, more games together on the pitch and starting to win.

"Once you do all those things, people won't be talking about the coaching staff, they'll be enjoying what they're seeing on the football pitch.

"And in my world, that day is coming."

It's a familiar debate for Town fans, who questioned whether Paul Lambert's failure to get things going at the club was due to the fact he was no longer working with his former long-term assistant Ian Culverhouse.

Former Town defender and Colchester United manager John McGreal, a friend of Cook's, has been a regular at Playford Road and Portman Road over recent weeks either side of a short-lived stint as Swindon Town manager. 

Kieron Dyer regularly helped with the first team towards the back end of last season, but has gone back to focusing solely on the U23s this season.

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