Pompey to step up pursuit of Cook

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook
Chesterfield manager Paul Cook
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Pompey will today push on towards bringing Paul Cook in as their new manager.

And the key will be activating a compensation clause in the 48-year-old’s Chesterfield contract.

Early yesterday evening the Spireites turned down an approach from Mark Catlin to speak to the highly-regarded Cook.

Proact Stadium chief executive Chris Turner had previously told The News he would resist any Fratton Park overtures for his manager.

However, the Blues will not give up on their number one contender, who will meet with his current employers today, to replace Andy Awford.

It is understood Cook has a buy-out clause worth in the region of £150,000 in the contract extension he signed with Chesterfield only in February.

Meeting that would open the door for discussions to be held with the ex-Wolves midfielder, regardless of the granting of permission.

The issue of Pompey funding such a sum is an intriguing one, with the solution most likely resting on some of the board dipping into their pockets.

As for Cook, The News understands he is keen to hear out Pompey and the situation far from ends with Chesterfield’s rejection yesterday evening.

Certainly, the potential switch would appeal to a manager who recognises the challenge of rebuilding a football club and climbing through the divisions.

It is a role he has already performed with the Spireites, having joined them when they sat 13th in League Two in October 2012.

At present, they are two points away from clinching a League One play-off spot with two matches remaining.

Pompey’s move came following yesterday’s Fratton Park board meeting, which began early afternoon.

It is understood ahead of Thursday’s gathering, the seven-man board were handed a spreadsheet of 60-70 candidates considered by Blues chief executive Catlin as realistic options.

They were then instructed to compose their own shortlist during the subsequent four days heading into the meeting.

It is believed Cook’s name emerged as a popular choice early on and the decision was made to swiftly instigate an official approach.

With several applicants involved in promotion pushes, the play-off schedule has been considered a hindrance to the Pompey time frame of appointing a new manager.

In Chesterfield’s case, the two-legged play-off semi-finals in League One are not due to be completed until May 10-11.

The final will then be held on Sunday, May 24.

Rather than potentially wait another month, the Blues have opted to immediately sound out Chesterfield over Cook.

However, the timing has not pleased the Spireites, who entertain champions Bristol City tomorrow as they seek to clinch their play-off spot.