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Chesterfield to announce Cook as boss
PAUL Cook will today exit Accrington Stanley to become the new boss of Chesterfield – leaving all three Football League clubs in the region without a manager.
Chesterfield identified Cook as the man they wanted to replace John Sheridan as manager at the Proact Stadium and spent all of yesterday locked in compensation talks with Stanley after making their move early in the day.
Cook only took charge of Stanley in February, when he replaced the long-serving John Coleman, but is understood to have been tempted by the bigger budget and better facilities on offer at Chesterfield – even though they currently only stand three places higher than Accrington in the League Two table.
Both clubs released statements late last night to confirm that compensation has finally been agreed, with Cook's appointment now expected to be announced shortly.
Chesterfield are hoping to unveil the 45-year-old as their new boss at a press conference today.
It would mean that Blackburn Rovers, Burnley and Stanley are in the unusual situation of all being without a manager at the same time.
The Lancashire Telegraph understands that assistant manager Leam Richardson, coach Paul Lodge and physio Les Parry were not part of the compensation package being negotiated last night, with the Spireites wanting to retain current backroom staff Tommy Wright and Mark Crossley.
Richardson is expected to take training this morning and is due to take caretaker charge of Stanley, who host Bristol Rovers on Saturday.
He could be in contention for the manager’s job full time if he remains at the club and does not also join Chesterfield, with Cook still keen on the former Blackburn Rovers defender following him to Derbyshire.
Richardson impressed as caretaker boss following Coleman’s exit, before missing out on the job to Cook.
Among those also likely to be in the frame for the Stanley job is former Rovers captain and current Chorley boss Garry Flitcroft, who is again thought to interest the board after being an early contender for the role in February.
Flitcroft is unlikely to dismiss the role out of hand, but would also like to be considered for the current vacancy at Blackburn.
The Stanley playing squad were largely in the dark over developments yesterday, on their normal day off for the week.
But Chesterfield made their move after being impressed by the Reds’ performance and flowing football in their 4-3 loss at the Proact Stadium last month – even though Stanley have since slipped from fourth to 16th in League Two following four straight defeats.
Cook did not speak to the media after Tuesday’s 1-0 home loss to York, with Richardson instead conducting post-match interviews.
Contact was made between the two clubs yesterday morning but Stanley initially insisted the talks were ‘informal’, before last night confirming they had received an official approach once compensation had been agreed.
Those talks dragged on longer than expected as the Reds sought a fair deal for a boss who still has almost two years left on his contract at the Crown Ground, but no further obstacles are anticipated for the move and Chesterfield are expected to make an announcement in the next few hours.