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Pompey keen to keep manager Cook amid Wigan interest

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(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)

Recently promoted Portsmouth have moved to cement Paul Cook’s role as manager at the club, reports The News.

Pompey, who were crowned League Two champions after a dramatic last day of the season in the fourth tier, are desperate to keep hold of their manager amid interest from Wigan Athletic.

And despite Cook saying publicly that he was interested in talking to the Latics about their vacant managerial role, privately he is said to be desperate to remain at Fratton Park.

Speaking to The Portsmouth News, Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin said: “As far as I’m aware, he wants to stay at this football club, and, as of this moment, there have been no official approaches made whatsoever.

“Paul has made it clear in the last few weeks that both Leam [Richardson, Cook’s assistant] and himself are keen to extend their stay at the club and we are currently in negotiations over new contracts.

“It is not something that should be played out in public. Paul is contracted to the club for another year, as is Leam, and talks are ongoing.”

Cook signed his current contract in 2015, when he arrived from League One Chesterfield, having led the Spireites to the brink of the Championship before eventually losing in the play-offs to Preston.

With Pompey, the 50-year-old Liverpudlian will hope to go one step further, but Michael Eisner’s proposed takeover could complicate things such as the budget, with the deal potentially not concluded until August.

Nevertheless, Pompey are working hard to prepare for next season, regardless of who owns the famous old club, and Catlin said: “We are trying to retain the services of players that are out of contract and, in conjunction, trying to work on deals for Paul and Leam, it’s no more complicated than that.

“As we have consistently said, we are proceeding with all contract negotiations based on the current ownership structure.

“As always, we will remain disciplined working within the current budget.”

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