PAUL Cook has joined Andy Payton in deciding to retire from playing league football.

The talented midfielder, who has made 168 appearances for the Clarets since turning a loan spell from Stockport into a permanent move in the summer of 1999.

He has been an important player this season and a regular stand-in skipper for Steve Davis but he is was recently ruled out until the end of the season with an ankle ligament injury suffered against Bradford City.

He has been a vital part of the Clarets success story in recent years, helping them win promotion and then become an established first division side.

Cook, who will be 36 in the summer, is certain to be linked with a move to Accrington Stanley, managed by his friend John Coleman and newly promoted to the Nationwide Conference.

Whether he is to hang up his boots for good remains to be seen but manager Stan Ternent admitted: "Cooky has been a wonderful player for the club."

For now, like Payton, he will get the chance to show his appreciation to the fans at Turf Moor on Saturday afternoon.