Town boss Cook unlikely to appoint assistant manager ahead of new season
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook is likely to go into next season without adding an assistant manager to his coaching team, we understand.
The Blues returned to pre-season training on Saturday to begin six weeks of hard work, leading up to the first game of the League One season against Morecambe on August 7.
Cook arrived at Portman Road in March, replacing Paul Lambert, with only his long-time player Gary Roberts coming with him for the final two months of an ultimately disappointing campaign, as the former Ipswich midfielder hung up his boots to begin his coaching career.
But, after first-team coach Matt Gill and goalkeeping coach Jimmy Walker moved on, Cook brought in former Everton and Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers, joining Roberts as a first-team coach. Ian Craney, his former Wigan kit-man, was added to the staff as a coach a few days later.
John Keeley, who previously worked under Cook at Portsmouth, has replaced Walker as goalkeeping coach.
And Cook’s understood to be happy with his coaching staff, as well as a close relationship with Under-23 boss Kieron Dyer, meaning there are unlikely to be any further additions prior to the start of the season.
Cook had hoped to be reunited with long-time assistant Leam Richardson this summer, replying ‘watch this space’ when previously asked about the possibility of teaming up with his former No.2 once again.
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However, all hope of a reunion ended when Richardson was given a full-time deal to manage Wigan, after keeping the Latics in League One last season, ending a working relationship which goes back to 2013.
Former Colchester United boss John McGreal, a friend and former team-mate of Cook's, spent some time at Playford Road towards the end of last season. He was named Swindon Town manager last month but has already left that role due to legal proceedings against the owners. Whether there will now be a position for him with the Blues, even just for the short-term, remains to be seen.
Alongside Cook’s coaching staff, the club have built a new ‘Performance Team’ this summer, headed up by director of performance Andy Rolls, who followed new CEO Mark Ashton from Bristol City.
Australian Andy Costin made the same journey, moving to Town as head of sports science, while former Premier League player Jon Ashton has joined the club as first-team fitness coach.
They, along with the club’s existing fitness and medical staff, will look to improve on the Blues’ tough recent injury record and improve the overall fitness of the squad.