Wigan Athletic chief on 'very surreal experience' of Paul Cook return

Leam Richardson admitted it was a 'very surreal experience' being in the opposite technical area to Paul Cook during Wigan Athletic's 0-0 draw with Ipswich.

Saturday, 27th March 2021, 7:33 pm
Paul Cook on his return to Wigan

It was Cook's first return to the DW since leaving Latics last summer, which saw Richardson stepping up to the plate as interim manager.

With both knowing so much about how the other - having also worked together at Portsmouth and Chesterfield - it was perhaps inevitable that it would lead to a cancelling out in a very tight game with few chances.

"It was destined to be like that wasn't it?" acknowledged Richardson.

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"The game ebbed and flowed and took different directions, but on the balance of the 90 minutes a draw was probably a fair result.

"At the minute we've got to try and take each and every positive, and so we'll class that as a point gained.

"And the biggest credit you can give these lads is that they're still here, competing, giving me everything they've got.

"Do we lack quality in certain areas? Of course we do, yes, and we have to be a little bit better.

"The final third entries, in and around the 18-yard box weren't quite good enough on the day, the decision-making and the end product.

"But if you're not going to win a game, then you make sure you don't lose - and thankfully we didn't."

On coming up against his long-time pal, Richardson added: "It was obviously a very surreal experience, having worked so closely with him for so long.

"I know how good a manager he is, how he sets his teams up, and the energy he brings to every club he's at.

"I heard him say before the game he's been carrying me for years...he got that in first, which I don't mind!

"But we'll have a beer and have a chat, and have that conversation again.

"In a way it wasn't a nice situation to be in opposition to him today, because we both knew how important the points are to Wigan Athletic at the moment.

"We both know how important it is we stay up, and how hard the group's worked to give themselves a chance of doing so.

"At the same time you always like to see your mate doing well, so maybe a 0-0 draw was the right result on the day."

Callum Lang always looked the man most likely to win it for Latics, only to be denied by Town's 6'9 goalkeeper Tomas Holy.

The forward was also poleaxed on the edge of the box in the closing stages, but the referee was unmoved by Wigan shouts for a spot-kick.

"There's always big decisions made all over the pitch that could have had a bearing on the result," added Richardson.

"Could we have had a penalty for the incident with Callum? Possibly.

"But at the same time, did Jamie Jones collide with their striker in the first half, and could they have also had one? Possibly.

"I just thought we needed a little bit more quality in the final third, having got into those areas."

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