Former Town defender could be in the frame to become Cook's No.2 after Richardson blow

Paul Cook at Wigan with Leam Richardson on Saturday

Paul Cook and Leam Richardson bump fists at Wigan recently - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Former Ipswich Town defender John McGreal is a potential option as Paul Cook hunts for a new No.2, we understand. 

Leam Richardson, Cook’s trusted assistant at Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan, has now been named full-time Latics boss on a three-year deal, after impressing during his long spell as caretaker this season. 

It had been expected Richardson would join up with Cook again at Portman Road this summer, with the Ipswich boss known to be extremely hopeful of a reunion with a man who played a major role in league title successes at each of their last three clubs. 

But now Cook will need to look elsewhere as he looks to add to his coaching staff this summer. 

John McGreal applauds the travelling fans at Old Trafford Picture Pagepix

John McGreal is out of work since leaving his role as Colchester manager last year

An experienced option, we understand, could be former Town centre-half McGreal, who played alongside Cook at Tranmere during the 1996/97 season. 

It’s understood McGreal, who left his role as manager of Colchester United last summer, following four years in the job, has been at Ipswich training on a number of occasions during Cook’s time in charge of the club. 

He hasn’t taken any part in the sessions, though, and it remains to be seen whether a role assisting Cook would interest a man with a good managerial CV in his own right. 

Gary Roberts came to Ipswich with Cook as first-team coach, having played for the Town manager at Portsmouth, Chesterfield and Wigan, and the pair have been living together during their early weeks in Suffolk. 

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The former Town player is certainly raw in coaching terms, having only ended his playing career last month, but his confidence appears to be growing as the weeks go on. 

Gary Roberts during the warm-up before the game against AFC Wimbledon

Gary Roberts arrived at Portman Road with Paul Cook - Credit: Pagepix

Clearly Cook trusts him greatly, but whether he’s ready to become a full-time No.2, with so little experience, remains to be seen. 

Another of Cook’s former Pompey and Wigan players could come into the picture, with Noel Hunt known to be on his old manager’s radar due to his work at Swindon, where he assisted Richie Wellens as the Robins won the League Two title in 2019/20. 

He’s a free agent now and was in conversation with Cook prior to Town’s game at Northampton on Tuesday night, ultimately watching the game from the stands with clipboard in hand. 

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

Noel Hunt watched Town's game at Northampton on Tuesday night - Credit: PA

While Roberts is the only member of coaching staff to have joined the club since Cook’s arrival, Kieron Dyer’s role on the training field has increased significantly during the former Wigan boss’s time in charge. 

Dyer, officially Town’s U23 boss, has clearly earnt the trust of Cook quickly and is regularly asked for his opinion both on the training field and on matchdays. 

He has a good CV, an excellent knowledge of the game and superb contacts. Could he be someone Cook brings into his camp on a more formal basis? 

Kieron Dyer supervising the warm-up at Charlton Athletic

Kieron Dyer's role in the Town set-up has grown of late - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

Then there’s Matt Gill, a highly-regarded coach who is liked by the playing staff and had a growing influence during a good run at the end of Paul Lambert’s time in charge.  

It’s understood Lambert was expecting to be fired following the 0-0 home draw with Oxford on February 20, with Gill and now departed goalkeeping coach Jimmy Walker then taking on a greater role for the 1-0 win at Hull and 2-1 success over Doncaster Rovers. 

The pair, joined by Bryan Klug, then won 2-1 at Accrington as official caretakers, following Cook’s appointment just hours earlier. 

It had been expected Gill may depart Portman Road this summer, alongside Richardson’s arrival, but now that scenario is not on the table it may just be that Cook thinks again. 

Ipswich first team coach Matt Gill looks on.

Ipswich first team coach Matt Gill looks on. - Credit: Steve

Anthony Barry joined Cook’s Wigan coaching staff in 2017 as first-team coach, aged just 31, and is a man highly regarded by the current Town boss. 

The former Accrington and Fleetwood midfielder left the DW Stadium last summer, though, joining Chelsea where he’s now. He’s also taken on a role as part of the Republic of Ireland set-up, meaning any kind of reunion with Cook at League One level is now highly unlikely. 

Cook is also on the lookout for a new goalkeeping coach, after Jimmy Walker left the club last week. Carl Pentney has stepped up from the academy for the remainder of the season and is highly regarded at the club, though Cook may look to bring in someone from the outside. 

His Wigan goalkeeping coach was former Ipswich stopper Nick Colgan but, again, a reunion with Cook is unlikely given he’s working in the Championship with Nottingham Forest. 

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