Pompey deny Wigan to retain coaches

Robbie Blake, left, and John Keeley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Robbie Blake, left, and John Keeley. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Pompey have fought off Wigan to retain coaches John Keeley and Robbie Blake.

But other members of Paul Cook’s backroom are expected to join him at the DW Stadium.

The News understands goalkeeping coach Keeley and first-team coach Blake have intimated they want to remain at Fratton Park following the appointment of Kenny Jackett.

Cook has already taken assistant manager Leam Richardson to Wigan and is keen to be accompanied by other Fratton Park staff.

The Blues are now braced for first-team physios Nick Meace and Andy Proctor to follow suit, having moved down from the north only last summer.

Their anticipated exits are being thrashed out with the Latics as Cook assembles his new backroom.

Yet Pompey’s former boss will be disappointed that Keeley and Blake have declined the opportunity to continue working with him.

Keeley last summer returned to Fratton Park for a second spell, having followed Michael Appleton to Blackburn in January 2013.

At the time, it ended a six-year Pompey association for the former Brighton goalkeeper.

He later worked at Chinese club Guangzhou R&F before Cook brought him back to England in July 2016 to replace Scott Bevan.

Former Burnley striker Blake arrived at Fratton Park during the 2015-16 campaign to strengthen the backroom set-up.

The likeable 41-year-old, who has aided with coaching and scouting, is settled on the south coast and wishes to remain.

Pompey are also confident head of recruitment Neil Howarth will be staying.

He arrived last summer having served as Bury’s head of operation and player analysis,