How former Portsmouth boss Paul Cook answered questions about Leam Richardson's influence in past successes and whether he needs extra help at Ipswich

Paul Cook has admitted he’d be open to adding additional support to his Ipswich backroom team amid questions about Leam Richardson’s influence on previous successes at Pompey and Wigan.

Friday, 17th September 2021, 1:39 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 4:12 pm

But the Portman Road boss added that the route to success comes from results on the pitch – and that’s something he believes will happen the longer he has to work with his new-look side.

The bookies’ pre-season favourites for promotion head into their game with Lincoln tomorrow sat third from bottom in the table and without a league win from their six matches played.

The Tractor Boys currently sit 12 points behind leaders Sunderland and 10 adrift of Wigan, who are managed by his former No2 at Chesterfield, Fratton Park and the DW Stadium – Richardson.

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The former Accrington defender enjoyed a seven-year working relationship with Cook on the sidelines and in that time helped secure three league titles for his then boss, with Pompey’s League Two-winning season coming in 2016-17.

Yet, the partnership broke up when Cook left the Latics in 2020 following their move into administration.

And following his appointment as Ipswich boss, the 54-year-old turned to former Pompey midfielder Gary Roberts and ex-Everton striker Franny Jeffers to assist with coaching at Portman Road.

Richardson has since remained at Wigan and assembled a squad over the summer which looks capable of challenging for promotion back to the Championship.

Paul Cook, left, and Leam Richardson during their time at Pompey together.

And with both currently operating at either end of the League One table, Cook accepts questions about his former assistant’s role in his previous successes was only natural – even though he respectively doesn’t believe such a reunion would be an answer to Ipswich’s currently difficulties.

He told the East Anglian Daily Times: ‘In football, rightly or wrongly, questions are always asked - I've never a problem with that.

‘If you look back on my time previously, things have gone well. So when Ipswich Town aren't doing so well, that will be a natural question.

‘Mark Ashton (CEO), Michael O'Leary (club chairman), our board have given me every encouragement to look at every aspect of what we're doing and how can we make it better.

‘So just like our supporters, we look at the club in the same light. We always think "have we got enough?”

‘But if you look back, for example, at Macauley Bonne's miss at Cheltenham - was that due to my assistant manager not being in the dugout? I don't really think so.

‘If you look at Lee Evans standing on the ball against whoever it was at home and giving the goal away - was that down to an assistant manager issue?

‘We've got a great belief in making the club better. If we feel that experience should come in (to assist the backroom team), I'd be all for it. I'd be all for anything that makes this football club better.

‘In my world, the thing that will make this football club better is more time, more games together on the pitch and starting to win.

‘Once you do all those things, people won't be talking about the coaching staff, they'll be enjoying what they're seeing on the football pitch.

‘And in my world, that day is coming.’