Pompey move to secure Cook's future
Pompey have moved to cement Paul Cook's future.
Chief executive Mark Catlin has revealed negotiations have begun over a new contract for the Blues’ boss.
Cook is eager to extend his Fratton Park stay, having steered the club to promotion and the League Two title.
Despite being linked with the vacant manager’s job at Wigan, privately he has told friends he is desperate to remain at Pompey.
Cook has now entered the final 12 months of the deal he signed in May 2015.
However, the 50-year-old would like improved terms – and increased contract length – in recognition of his Fratton Park achievements.
In the meantime, Michael Eisner’s proposed takeover may not be cleared until August – should he gain shareholders’ approval.
Those financial implications could have a crucial say in any new contract for Pompey’s manager.
Regardless, Catlin insists talks have been opened with Cook and assistant Leam Richardson over fresh terms.
He said: ‘Paul has made it clear in the last few weeks that both Leam and himself are keen to extend their stay at the club and we are currently in negotiations over new contracts.
‘It is not something that should be played out in public. Paul is contracted to the club for another year, as is Leam, and talks are ongoing.
‘We have never made any secret of the fact how highly-regarded Paul is by everyone at the club – and from Paul’s consistent statements he seems to enjoy it here.
‘As far as I am aware, he wants to stay at this football club and, as of this moment, there have been no official approaches made whatsoever.
‘There is no time frame. We are trying to retain the services of players that are out of contract and, in conjunction, trying to work on deals for Paul and Leam, it’s no more complicated than that.
‘As we have consistently said, we are proceeding with all contract negotiations based on the current ownership structure.
‘As always, we will remain disciplined working within the current budget.’
Cook is currently enjoying a post-season break in the Algarve and isn’t scheduled to return until this weekend.
While on holiday, he has politely declined to comment on reports linking him away.
However, it is understood, before heading abroad, Cook met Pompey’s board to enquire about a new deal.
Until that point, the club’s first silverware-winning manager in nine years had received no approach about extending his services.
Cook is also said to be fuming over subsequent claims he would welcome talks with former club Wigan.
In the aftermath of the League Two title victory, he revealed to The News his wish to remain as boss.
That desire has not changed, yet Cook wants assurances over his future through a new Blues deal.