Cooks shakes up backroom team

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A SHAKE-UP in up Pompey’s coaching staff has been instigated by Paul Cook.

The Blues are close to bringing in Leam Richardson and Ian Foster to the new manager’s backroom team.

Gary Waddock, left, with Paul Hardyman Picture: Joe Pepler

Gary Waddock, left, with Paul Hardyman Picture: Joe Pepler

And that looks set to end Paul Hardyman and Gary Waddock’s time with the senior set-up.

Chief executive Mark Catlin confirmed talks are taking place with ‘quite a few’ of Cook’s preferred options.

Catlin expects to confirm details of the new-look structure in the coming days.

He said: ‘We’ve agreed verbally with quite a few of Paul’s backroom staff what is going to happen.

‘Hopefully we can get the contracts done with them as soon as possible

‘Leam was Paul’s assistant manager at Chesterfield. He’s someone he wants at the club.

‘We’ll back Paul, as we always do in anything he wants to do.

‘It’s up to Paul what extent he wants to go to with the staff.

‘As with previous managers, he’ll be 100-per-cent backed in that process.

‘That will be down to Paul and we will be discussing with them in the next few days.

‘I think Gary (Waddock) is a fantastic person and a really, really good coach.

‘When he arrived here and behind the scenes he has been really important.

‘But it’s totally down to Paul Cook as manager what happens.’

Despite there being a turnaround in the first-team set-up, Catlin denied Pompey were back-tracking on earlier plans to put a solid coaching structure in place. It was previously intimated that was the plan, with Waddock seen as part of the long-term set-up.

Catlin said: ‘A structure is in place.

‘The personnel changes, but the structure is in place.

‘We’re looking for that structure and the positions to remain in place.

‘The board are perfectly aware of that and they will do all they can to help Paul.’

Cook is well ahead with his recruitment plans, with most of the existing out-of-contract players told about their futures.

Left winger Kyle Bennett is wanted, while the 48-year-old wants Chesterfield’s out-of-contract Jimmy Ryan.

Catlin explained it’s been a lightning start to life at Fratton Park for the new manager, who has been quick to make an impression.

‘He’s getting stuck in right away. No messing,’ added Catlin.

‘I did say he’s just lost out on the play-offs, that must be draining and wondered if it was time to recharge his batteries.

‘But he said he wouldn’t be going anywhere until everything was finalised here.

‘He’s got a job to do and he’s getting stuck into it straight away. It’s like players – the manager can’t just have talent they also have to work hard.’