Cooke weighs up USA options but wants to stay with Drogheda
Drogheda United manager Mick Cooke has revealed he has an offer to manage in the MLS if, and when, his tenure with the Louth club ends.
The 62-year-old discovered last Monday that his contract will not be renewed at the end of this season – a surprising decision given that Saturday's EA Sports Cup decider will be the third time Cooke has taken the club to a major final in the last 12 months.
While the Dubliner's preference is to remain with Drogheda, his future appears to lie elsewhere.
"I still haven't got my head around the decision the club has made," said Cooke at a press conference to promote Saturday's final against Shamrock Rovers.
"I have no issues with the club, but I got a list of issues off them and replied to them. I am an open-minded man and will speak to anyone if they want to speak to me. I want to stay.
"An agent has contacted me about a job going in the MLS and another in the league below that in America. I have also been asked if I would be interested in an U-21 coaching job with a Championship club in England. My preference is to stay with Drogheda, though."
While Cooke's job insecurity is understandably an issue of concern, of infinitely more importance to both him and the club is the health of Gary O'Neill, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last Thursday.
Due to undergo surgery next Tuesday, O'Neill surprised both Cooke and the Drogheda players by appearing in the dressing-room just before Monday's FAI Cup quarter-final replay against Finn Harps to deliver a rallying address to the players whose morale had been bruised over the preceding week.
"For a guy with that trauma going on his life to come into our dressing-room to gee up the lads speaks volumes for the man," Cooke said. "It must be an awful knock to be told that news, but he's a strong young character and he knows what is ahead of him. Please God, everything will work out for him."