'I told Cooky six weeks ago he will get it right... bring it on' - Stanley boss on battle with friend Cook

Paul Cook and John Coleman know each other well

Paul Cook and John Coleman know each other well - Credit: PA

Accrington boss John Coleman has always been confident his close friend, Paul Cook, would get things right at Ipswich Town. 

The two men, who both grew up in the Merseyside borough of Kirkby and know each other well, face off this weekend as they bid to move their sides up the League One table. 

Ipswich are 19th following a tough start but have found form, claiming seven points from a possible nine, while Accrington have drifted to 12th after an excellent start, claiming just a single point from their last four games. 

This weekend’s battle is one fought between familiar faces, even beyond the two managers. Cook’s coaching staff of Gary Roberts, Francis Jeffers and Ian Craney all played for Stanley, as did Ipswich defenders Cameron Burgess and Janoi Donacien. 

“Paul knows all our staff, we know all his staff - probably most of his staff have played for Accrington,” Coleman said. 

“It’s not a grudge match, so to speak. Historically when we play each other we don’t speak that week although we did do an EFL podcast (together) on Thursday morning. 

“What I know is that we won’t play Ipswich, who scored six in midweek, and park the bus. I would never do that, I would never do it to our fans, it’s not in my nature. 

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“I told Cooky six weeks ago he will get it right for when they play us. They have a good side, probably early on was a good time to play them when they were trying to gel but you play everyone at some point and bring it on.” 

Coleman also paid tribute to Cook’s father, Chris, who recently passed away, while also offering some words of comfort to his friend and rival. 

Town manager Paul Cook looks on.

Town manager Paul Cook looks on. - Credit: stephenwaller.com

“It’s difficult for Paul,” Coleman said. “Chris was a lovely fellow, a gentleman, a great football person in Kirkby where we all grew up and people like that will be sorely missed. 

“One of the beauties of our game is football can be a distraction and can take your mind off things for a bit. 

“Paul will find out, as I found out when my dad died, that time can be a healer. His dad will want him to carry on and do well.” 

Accrington go into this game having conceded 12 goals in three matches, most recently losing 5-1 to Oxford, with Coleman admitting the loss of Burgess to Ipswich has been tough for his side to take. 

“It’s a concern when you concede goals,” he admitted. 

Cameron Burgess receives an early yellow card.

Town defender Cameron Burgess will face his former club this weekend - Credit: stephenwaller.com

“If you think from the start of the season we have had two of our main defenders out in Cameron Burgess (joined Ipswich) and Harvey Rodgers (injured) so it’s not ideal. But we weren’t getting carried away when we were second in the league and we won’t get carried away as we have lost a couple.  

“We are desperate to win again, everything that has conspired against us has at the moment but what’s the alternative? Give up. We won’t do that. 

“We don’t want to lose games, we hurt when we lose games, we hurt when we concede goals but we have got to put things into perspective sometimes, there is a life outside of football.” 

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