PAUL Cook’s decision to leave Accrington Stanley angered many fans at the Crown Ground, but Leam Richardson has urged supporters not to give the Chesterfield boss a rough ride on his return to his old club today.
Cook was in charge of Stanley for only 10 months before quitting the club to join fellow League Two side Chesterfield in October – shortly after Accrington’s display impressed the Spireites board in a 4-3 defeat at the B2Net Stadium.
Richardson, who had been Cook’s assistant, took over as Accrington manager but is this afternoon aiming to prevent the club going 10 games without a win for the first time since 2006.
Many fans viewed Cook’s decision to leave as a sideways move and were upset that he had quit so soon into his Stanley tenure, but Richardson hopes Cook is not booed on his return to the Crown Ground.
“I hope he gets a good reception,” said the Stanley boss, who yesterday brought in former Bolton right back Nicky Hunt on a month’s loan from Rotherham.
“Whether it’s for a short or long period, if someone has come in and done a good job they deserve a good welcome, which I do think Paul deserves.
“I keep in regular contact with Paul and he does with myself. We have regular chats about various things and I’m looking forward to being in his company and to pitting my wits against him.”
Another former manager, John Coleman, secured victory at the Crown Ground when he returned with Rochdale in October.
But Richardson says that, regardless of the added intrigue to the fixture, Stanley need three points regardless.
“It doesn’t coincide with the manager or the run or anything, we just need to win games,” he said.
There was no clause inserted into the compensation deal for Cook’s exit preventing him from returning for players, and Richardson admits Stanley will always be vulnerable to losing their stars.
“I think there’s a fear of losing players to anybody,” he said.
“If they’re playing well and per-forming you’ll always lose players, especially at Accrington. Other clubs sometimes come and take them. But if that’s the case and it’s a benefit for all parties then that’s where we are.”
Richardson, though, is instead determined to add to his squad now the transfer window is open.
James Beattie’s current deal with Stanley runs until January 9 and the boss is hoping to extend that until the end of the season.
“It’s ongoing,” Richardson said.
“We’re speaking to James. If we could sign him for the rest of the season it would be a massive boost for us.”