Pompey face losing Cook

Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey celebrate Brett Pitman's goal. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey 1 Southend 0 – Neil Allen’s match report

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Pompey are braced to lose Paul Cook following a day of developments.

The Blues’ boss is poised to make the switch to League One rivals Wigan – just 20 days after winning the League Two title.

However, Pompey are entitled to compensation for the remaining 12 months on the contract he signed in May 2015.

Cook had been keen on a new Pompey deal and confided in friends he was not interested in the DW Stadium job.

It is understood remaining at Fratton Park continues to be his preference.

However, matters today sped up following a meeting with chief executive Mark Catlin and he is now seemingly edging towards the Fratton Park exit.

With Michael Eisner’s takeover in the process of being ratified, it has made it difficult to offer the contract Cook is eager to sign.

The 50-year-old wants a pay rise in addition to an extended term in recognition of his Pompey achievements.

Cook’s performance was also recognised by the League Managers’ Association (LMA) on Monday night, when he was named the League Two manager of the year.

Inevitably that has attracted attention, with his stock so high at present.

Yet all along Cook has insisted privately he is desperate to stay at Fratton Park on terms he feels warrant improvement.

It is understood he feels unappreciated over the lack of speed to finalise a new contract with the Blues following the remarkable end to the campaign.

And with the Tornante deal not expected to go through for another five or six weeks, it complicates the chances of an instant resolution.

Cook may still remain if Pompey can deliver a counter offer, yet it is difficult ahead of Eisner’s anticipated arrival.

Now Wigan have moved in an attempt to lure him away from the south coast.

And hopes of the Blues retaining the manager who earned them the League Two crown are fading fast.

Should his departure be confirmed, it will be desperately disappointing for the Fratton faithful following a superb campaign.

Cook had his critics for the majority of the season. Yet a run of 10 wins in the final 12 matches not only clinched promotion but also changed opinion.

In the hours afterwards he told The News of his desire to remain at Fratton Park if he is wanted by the Blues’ new owner.

There is certainly no proof Eisner would not be willing to retain the manager he is inheriting, yet with Cook doubts remain.

That state has led to him looking at other opportunities, namely Wigan.

The Latics are in League One following relegation from the Championship – and will be fancied for instant promotion.

The likelihood at present is Cook will be at the helm.