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Sligo boss Cook linked with vacant Stockport post

SLIGO ROVERS have pulled off a notable coup by resigning in-demand midfielder Richie Ryan, but now they could face a fight to hold on to manager Paul Cook.

The Scouser has been linked with the vacant post at Stockport, with his agent stating that Cook would be attracted by the prospect of taking over a club he spent two years with as a player.

"We would have to see what his club, Sligo Rovers, say but he enjoyed his time at Stockport and he would definitely be interested," said Gordon Armstrong.

Paul Simpson was shown the door by the League Two club earlier this week.

For now, though, Cook -- who signed a new contract with Sligo in November -- is engaged in the task of building a team to challenge for the League of Ireland title this year and securing the signature of Ryan will aid that cause considerably.

The Tipp native, voted PFAI Player of the Season, had expressed an interest in pursuing a career in the UK or further afield, while champions Shamrock Rovers were also keen to lure him to Tallaght.

However, Sligo remained in negotiations with the 25-year-old and Cook got his man.

Sligo won both the FAI Cup and EA Sports Cup in 2010, although Ryan controversially missed the Aviva Stadium win in the former competition due to suspension.

"Last season is in the past now," Ryan said. "We've signed a lot of players from last year already and we have to start the hard work again to bring more trophies to the club."

However, as one talented performer commits to the league, another could be on the way out with Celtic stepping up their interest in Sporting Fingal's Shaun Williams.

The 24-year-old will try and impress Neil Lennon during a trial period to see if he can earn a contract with the SPL club.

Meanwhile, Bray Wanderers have retained the services of several prized assets who helped steer the club away from relegation last term.

Pat Devlin has confirmed that young stars such as Jake Kelly, Chris Shields, Gary Shaw, Dane Massey, Shane O'Neill and Derek Prendergast will be plying their trade for the Seagulls again in 2011. Experienced midfielder Gary Dempsey is also staying with the Wicklow club.

Irish Independent