Wigan Athletic fans are still waiting for Portsmouth boss Paul Cook to be officially named as their club’s new manager.
But that could be as soon as today.
Just three weeks after guiding Portsmouth to the League Two title, Cook will rejoin Latics– where he played between 1984 and ‘88.
Fans scrambled for confirmation yesterday, but a delay in getting the move over the line is not expected to scupper the deal.
He is expected to bring his backroom team, including assistant Leam Richardson, and will become chairman David Sharpe’s third permanent manager in the space of 12 months.
Cook has 12 months still to run on his deal at Fratton Park, and it is understood Latics have agreed compensation with Pompey to bring the 50-year-old, who has previously also experienced promotion with Chesterfield, to the DW Stadium.
Stabilising the club is what is important. You need timeRay Mathias
And he comes with a strong endorsement from former Latics boss Ray Mathias, who managed Cook as a player in the ‘80s.
“He has proved he can do it,” said Mathias.
“I know his upbringing and how he’s lived his life. He can be very strong for Wigan and he can be a strong talker when he has to be.”
Cook stated after winning the League Two title that he wouldn’t leave Portsmouth ‘unless the club didn’t want him’ and as recently as this month affirmed his commitment to the south coast club.
After winning the League Two title, he said: “I will not seek to move anywhere.
“If I was to get offers from any clubs higher than Pompey, that doesn’t matter to me.
“I would love to continue managing this club, I will not leave this club unless it was for a reason why the club wanted me to leave.”
But he has also shown frustration at the existing £3m playing budget he’s working to and missing out on summer targets in recent weeks.
And it does not appear to be the case that the club don’t want him, as a new offer was tabled to the Liverpudlian by The Blues, sparked by Wigan’s interest over the weekend.
But that offer is understood to fall short of what Sharpe has put to him, after reports the Latics chairman met Cook in Spain earlier this week to discuss terms, and it would appear Sharpe has been able to convince his target to leave Fratton Park for Portsmouth’s League One rivals.
Among his achievements are taking Pompey from fifth spot at the beginning of March to a remarkable end-of-season run which saw 10 wins from 12 matches.
That was enough to clinch League Two on goal difference ahead of Plymouth, and it is an area of particular concern for Latics, who managed just 40 goals from their 46 league games last season.
But Mathias hopes when Cook is brought in, he is given time to get things right as Latics look to recover from a second relegation in the space of three seasons.
“Stabilising the club is what is important. You need time,” he said.
“Paul has a hard job ahead of him, and he will need to be given enough time and have the right players.”
Cook follows Gary Caldwell and Warren Joyce on the list of permanent Latics managers under Sharpe.
Caldwell lasted 18 months before he was replaced by Joyce, who lasted less than four months in the role.
“Things don’t happen overnight and clubs need patience,” said Mathias.
“Paul has two promotions now (with Chesterfield and Portsmouth) and his staff all know how he works. He’s a typical scouser who knows and loves his football and he’ll definitely make a great manager.”