Pompey set to complete Cook deal

Paul Cook Picture: James Williamson
Paul Cook Picture: James Williamson
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PAUL COOK is set to be confirmed as Pompey’s new manager today.

The Blues spent yesterday thrashing out the finer details of the 48-year-old’s arrival, having met the buy-out clause in his Chesterfield contract.

Following the Spireites’ League One play-off semi-final elimination against Preston on Sunday, negotiations have been stepped up.

Both Cook and Pompey are keen for a swift resolution towards the inevitable outcome, with a busy summer of squad rebuilding required.

In particular, 11 players are out of contract at the end of next month, with the likes of Ryan Taylor already attracting attention from rival clubs.

But Cook’s much-anticipated appointment to the Fratton Park helm is expected to be officially announced today.

And that will be welcome news for the Fratton faithful, who are keen to see the managerial situation resolved as early as possible.

One of the issues central in recent negotiations has been the make-up of the backroom staff, with Cook having indicated his preference to bring some members of his Chesterfield set-up with him to the south coast.

Trusted pair, assistant manager Leam Richardson and chief scout Paul Mitchell, have already been mooted.

However, the Blues currently have Andy Melville as their head of player recruitment, after he joined the club at the end of February.

The existing Fratton Park backroom also contains the popular Paul Hardyman, who is on a 12-month rolling contract.

Meanwhile, Pompey have made no secret of their desire to retain the services of Gary Waddock, who has made a favourable impression since his December arrival.

Waddock, who still harbours hopes of returning to management in the future, is out of contract with the Blues this summer.

Those roles will require clarification before Cook can be officially introduced by his new club.

The Blues have been without a manager since Andy Awford’s mutually-agreed exit on April 13.

But Cook has long been perceived by the board as the outstanding candidate for the role and, as a result, led from the front throughout.

Chief executive Mark Catlin’s initial approach to Chesterfield for permission to talk to their manager was rejected and played out in the public domain.

However, a compensation clause in the new contract he signed in February was soon met and discussions have been ongoing.

The culmination of those negotiations is anticipated today, providing there are no unexpected late hitches.

That will enable Pompey to name a fourth manager since coming under community ownership.

And the onus will be on Cook to get the Blues out of League Two following two seasons of frustration and underachievement.