Sunday 19 November 2017

Cook's call to stay with Sligo puts Fenlon in mix for St Johnstone switch

Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

PAT FENLON is back in the frame for the position as manager of SPL side St Johnstone after Sligo boss Paul Cook turned the position down.

The Saints had identified Cook as their number one target and were given permission to speak to the Liverpudlian after agreeing compensation terms with the Bit O'Red.

However, the 44-year-old had reservations about the role and, ultimately, decided to stay with his current employers for now.

It's understood that Cook was unhappy with the terms and conditions on the table and had an additional concern about the likely prospect of not being able to bring in his own number two.

St Johnstone chairman Geoff Brown tried to dismiss the assistant manager issue and told Scottish media that Cook was unwilling to uproot his family.

His decision to turn down the opportunity is a huge boost for Sligo and the focus will now return to Sunday week's Ford FAI Cup final with Shelbourne.

Cook's move could also open the door for Fenlon, who was on the original shortlist and has greatly impressed the authorities at the Perth-based outfit.

The Bohemians manager has performed well at Dalymount Park this year amid extremely difficult working conditions.

He was set for a move to Scotland at the beginning of last year only for a switch to Dundee United to break down over the Gypsies' compensation demands.

The situation is drastically different now, with the Phibsboro club facing a huge battle over the winter to stay afloat with long-standing financial issues coming to a head.

Fenlon remains under contract and, ironically, his departure would suit the club as it would lessen the wage bill considerably.

St Johnstone are expected to move things along this week, although Brown has stated that he is no rush to make a quick appointment.

A statement from the club yesterday said: "The club's search for a replacement manager continues, but it does not appear that the successor to Derek McInnes will be Paul Cook.

"The current manager of Sligo Rovers has been in highly publicised talks with St Johnstone about the vacant post, but the two parties have been unable to reach agreement on personal terms and the club therefore moves on to other options."

Fenlon will face strong competition for the post, with Mark McGhee throwing his hat into the ring yesterday and a number of other Scottish managers interested.

Irish Independent

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