Tuesday 20 March 2018

Cook lands Accrington top job as Sligo eye Collins

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

SLIGO Rovers are looking for a new manager after Paul Cook's on-off move to Accrington Stanley was completed yesterday.

Cook won the FAI Cup twice and League Cup once during a successful five years with Sligo. However, his relationship with the Sligo hierarchy is understood to have become strained over the winter, even though he has recruited a strong side for the upcoming campaign.

The Liverpudlian has signed a two-and-a-half-year deal with the League Two promotion chasers. He is a former Accrington player and was always keen to move back to England, where his family is based.

Sligo allowed Cook to speak to both St Johnstone and Derry City in recent months but neither switch materialised. He also turned down Accrington's initial offer, which led to Sligo releasing a statement last Friday saying they expected Cook to remain in charge at the Showgrounds.

But Accrington stepped up negotiations to get their man and agreed compensation with Sligo to secure his services.

He will be reunited with Carlow native Padraig Amond, who is currently on loan at Stanley from Portuguese side Pacos de Ferreira.

"It's with great sadness I leave Sligo," said Cook. "But all my thoughts now are on trying to maintain the success that Accrington Stanley have enjoyed since I was here as a player."

The news has been greeted with dismay by a number of Sligo players who were persuaded to sign for the club by Cook. After finishing runner-up in the Premier Division for the past two seasons, it is anticipated that the Bit O'Red will be the main obstacle to Shamrock Rovers' three-in-a row ambitions.

Monaghan United manager Roddy Collins has emerged as a possible replacement for Cook, although his current employers could dig their heels in if an approach is made just over a fortnight before the start of the season.

His name is believed to have come up in discussions between the Sligo board and senior players.

Former Sligo boss Willie McStay is another candidate. The Scot spoke to Derry City about their managerial post, but Declan Devine got the nod. McStay led the Connacht side to the FAI Cup back in 1994, and also won them promotion to the top flight.

"The process of appointing a manager to build on the progress of the club starts now," said chairman Michael Toolan. "Our intentions and ambitions remain as high as ever."

Irish Independent

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