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Cook not distracted by Latics takeover talks

Dave Whelan was at the DW Stadium last Saturday as 'Latics won 3-0 against Southend
Dave Whelan was at the DW Stadium last Saturday as 'Latics won 3-0 against Southend

Paul Cook insists his Latics players won’t be distracted by off-field headlines as they take on Gillingham tonight.

Investors from Hong Kong have emerged as an interested party in buying the club from Dave Whelan, who has been open to a buy-out for some time.

It is understood talks have taken place with a prospective buyer, whose identity has been kept a secret.

Reports suggest a takeover deal worth in excess of £20m has been agreed, with hopes it cab be done by the January transfer window.

But Cook, whose former club Portsmouth were taken over by American Michael Eisner last August, says his focus remains with what happens on the pitch.

He said: “It’s quite easy for us. The important thing is turning ourselves to what we can control which is certainly on the pitch.” Whelan, who has owned Latics since 1995, passed the chairman’s role to grandson David Sharpe two years ago.

While Cook’s focus is firmly on keeping Latics at the top of the table, he says he is kept informed of developments behind the scenes.

“Certainly from my point of view I’ve always been fully aware of what goes on,” he 
said.

“You know what is happening and what is not happening and it’s nice to be involved in that, and to have the knowledge of what’s going on.” After 13 league games, Cook’s objective sheet looks achievable so far, with Latics 11 points better off than at 
the same stage last time they were in League One – when they were promoted as champions.

But he isn’t taking anything for granted, and says he is enjoying the task of setting the pace in the division.

“(Being top of the table) it’s a better pressure for me,” he said. “That’s where I want to be, it’s where I want the club to be. If that’s pressure then that’s something we’re in the game for.

“Does it mean we’ll stay there? Not at all. Every team in every division has always maintained you look at the team above you and that’s your first port of call.

“For us, when we’re top, our port of call is to stay there – and that’s a challenge.

“We are a big scalp in this league by how we’ve seen other teams celebrate when they beat us. That’s football and we get on with that.”