'We've travelled Europe watching Liverpool together' - Close friends Cook and Lowe do battle
- Credit: PA/Steve Waller
There will be a battle between two close friends on the Portman Road touchline this weekend.
Paul Cook’s second home game in charge of Ipswich Town sees him take on a fellow Liverpudlian in Plymouth’s Ryan Lowe, with the pair travelling Europe together watching Liverpool and the Town boss sharing managerial tips with the Argyle manager during the early years of his career.
But, as the old cliché goes, friendship will be put to one side as both men seek three points.
“I have known Paul many years since when he was playing,” Lowe told the Plymouth Herald.
“Yeah, we are Scousers and we have been to Europe and all over England watching Liverpool together with our kids. His lad Connor and my lad Alfie.
“We have shared some good experiences. When I became a manager he was one of the first people I called upon for help and guidance.
“He has been terrific for me and the respect is massive, but we are locking horns aren’t we?
“I’m pleased to see him back in. I did say to him when he got the job I wish he had waited a couple of more weeks!
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“But, again, we have got massive mutual respect for each other. I want him to do as well as he possibly can after Saturday, and he’s the same for me.
“He wants us to keep progressing and keep doing the right things. He has done wonderful in his managerial merry-go-round so far.
“I’m sure he’s going to be a big-hitter at Ipswich Town in the next couple of seasons.
“So we are good pals, have a good relationship, have mutual respect for each other but we are locking horns on Saturday afternoon.
“We will never be any different on the sidelines. We will have the respect for each other massively, but he’s wanting to win for his team and I’m wanting to win for my team.”
Cook won the first meeting between the two men, when Lowe was in caretaker charge of Bury and Cook managing Wigan in 2018, with the Town boss looking forward to facing his friend once again.
“They have an outstanding young manager in Ryan Lowe,” Cook said.
“He’s done well at Bury and then gone down to Plymouth and had instant success, so with Stephen Schumacher’s (assistant) help and the rest of his staff they’re building the club and Plymouth and it’s great to see.
“Plymouth will be better for it in 12 months’ time and I think they will be knocking on the door of the play-offs. They’ve had some great results this season and, like everyone else, they’ve had their dips. But that’s part of Ryan’s development and learning as a manager.
“In the management game today you have to be careful what you wish for in jobs now. That’s something I’ve learnt over the last 12 months.
“We’re in for a really tough game and we’re looking forward to it.”
Asked if he feels Lowe’s stock is rising, Cook said: “Managers clamour to climb ladders as quickly as we can but the top of the ladders are fraught with danger, they really are.
“Ryan’s at a strong, stable football club with loads of potential for development to go forward. Probably exactly how I see Ipswich.
“Ryan’s an intelligent guy so he’ll know exactly what he’s doing. The last thing he needs is me telling him what to do.”