Chase for Cook heats up

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook
Chesterfield manager Paul Cook
  • Play-off loss raises hopes of landing Chesterfield boss
  • Cooks remains Pompey’s number one target
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Pompey’s bid to land Paul Cook has edged closer.

Cook’s Chesterfield fell to a 1-0 defeat to Preston in the first leg of the League One play-offs tonight.

Jermaine Beckford’s early goal made the difference at the Proact Stadium.

That gave the man who is Pompey’s number one managerial target an uphill task to guide his side to the Wembley final on May 24.

Failure to do so would leave the Blues clear to bring in the Scouser wanted as Andy Awford’s successor.

Sources in Derbyshire suggest Cook is happy to move to Fratton Park and spearhead the bid for promotion next season.

The 48-year-old hasn’t publicly dismissed Pompey’s attention, but has stated he is staying focussed on his team’s crucial end-of-season games.

Pompey would have to match a release clause of around £150,000 in the contract Cook signed in February to bring their man in.

There remains concern, too, of what could yet unfold in the race to land Pompey’s managerial priority.

After impressing with the Spireites, Championship outfit Derby are keeping tabs on the Scouser.

That’s with current boss, Steve McClaren, a wanted man at Premier League Newcastle.

Martin Allen and Phil Brown remain other options on the Blues shortlist drawn up by the club’s board.

Allen is out of contract after steering Barnet to the Conference title last season.

That means the former Blues midfielder could arrive without shelling out a fee for his services.

Brown has yet to ink a new contract he stated he was expecting to sign over two weeks ago at Roots Hall.