Emotional Paul Cook sets eyes on Sheffield Wednesday after Ipswich Town break horror start to promotion push
Somewhere in a faraway parallel universe, Paul Cook is preparing for this weekend’s round of football matches as manager of Sheffield Wednesday. As it happens, he’s busy plotting their downfall.
The 54-year-old Scouser was a popular choice to become Owls boss after Tony Pulis’ sacking late last year. The job first fell to caretaker boss Neil Thompson and then, in March, to Darren Moore.
Now in situ at ambitious Ipswich Town, an emotional Cook recorded his first league win over the weekend – 1-0 at Lincoln – and quickly set eyes on the next task, the visit of wounded animal Sheffield Wednesday to Portman Road this weekend.
Attention quickly turned to the Tractor Boys’ next opponents, though.
“We just want to make those supporters happy”, Cook told the Ipswich Star after the game.
“Now we’ve got to make sure we follow that up next week against Sheffield Wednesday.
“We’ve got that elusive win now that will give us a platform to go on.
“We’ve only played seven league games. Seven! And we’ve got 39 to go.
“If we can play like we did in the first half for longer, the reality is we’ll be okay.”
Though not under any real immediate pressure for his job at a club with new owners and a squad turnover that dwarfs even that of Wednesday, it’s been a horror start to a campaign many believed would see Ipswich scaling the very top of the table.
As Moore’s Wednesday have found, it’s not always that easy and both sides enter Saturday’s clash hoping a win can springboard a turnaround in form.
Cook has found it tough battling Ipswich’s early season form with immensely difficult personal problems.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks, with my dad passing away,” Cook said. “I don’t want to go into all that. I'm just really pleased now to be going to see my family. I haven’t been home to see them since my father passed away.
“I’m just pleased for everyone. You see Mark Ashton and Michael O’Leary at the end of the game, all our staff. It means so much to us all."