Paul Cook explains Pompey backroom decisions

Paul Cook. Picture: Sarah Standing
Paul Cook. Picture: Sarah Standing
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Paul Cook believes a tried and trusted backroom staff gives him more chance of leading Pompey to success.

The new Blues boss has brought two of his former staff with him from Chesterfield, with assistant manager Leam Richardson and first-team coach Ian Foster following him to Fratton Park.

That meant there were no roles within the senior coaching set-up for either Gary Waddock – who was caretaker boss after Andy Awford’s departure – or long-serving club stalwart Paul Hardyman, who stepped up from the Academy last summer.

Before Cook’s appointment, there were suggestions that the incoming manager would work with the existing coaching structure.

But that changed as Cook felt it was important to work alongside people who already know how he operates.

Cook explained: ‘Football is a very tough industry and when you do go into clubs I think it’s important that you do have people around you, first and foremost, that you trust.

‘That is no disrespect at all to the people here because they are good lads with good names in football.

‘But it helps that we already know each other, and we know our roles.

‘It’s important that they know the manager and how I work – I think that is the most important thing.’

With Cook eager to put his own stamp on the club, his arrival has sparked a major overhaul to the playing squad and staff.

Head of recruitment Andy Melville, who had only been at the club since February, was deemed surplus to requirements, while strength and conditioning coach Louis Langdown also left his role.

But while Cook has sympathy for those who have left their positions, he revealed he is still looking to make changes to get things exactly how he wants them.

He said: ‘It’s quite normal nowadays for managers to bring in some of their own staff.

‘Clubs have different structures these days with academies and some staff can be long-serving staff.

‘I do believe that everyone has got an important part to play at a club – it’s not just about the manager.

‘You need everyone to feel a part of it and pull together, and that’s what I am going to try to bring to the club.

‘I always think it is a very difficult time for people when they lose their job.

‘We are still taking our time and carefully planning the way forward for the club.

‘There are still some staff places that we want to fill and we are working every day to try to fill them.

‘But the most important thing at the moment is that we are concentrating on the first team and the recruitment of players for next season.’