Paul Cook: New Ipswich Town boss targets automatic promotion

Paul Cook watches on
Paul Cook watched Ipswich's win at Accrington on Tuesday from the stands

New Ipswich Town manager Paul Cook says automatic promotion from League One "has to be the target" this season.

The former Portsmouth and Wigan boss, 54, was appointed on Tuesday to replace Paul Lambert at Portman Road.

Ipswich are seventh in the third tier, nine points from second place with games in hand on some of their rivals.

"For Ipswich, probably similar to Sunderland and Portsmouth, the supporters genuinely believe that they shouldn't be in this league," he said.

Cook told BBC Radio Suffolk: "We've got to aim for the stars, we have to do that, it's what football's about.

"The target has to be automatic promotion at the minute - if that's not mathematically possible, or difficult to do, we'll try and get in the play-offs.

"And if we unfortunately didn't make the play-offs, it won't be because we haven't done our best."

Cook led Wigan to promotion back to the Championship in 2017-18, his first season in charge, but they went into administration last July and were relegated to League One after a 12-point deduction.

"I wanted to stay in the Championship, I really did, it was something that I thought I was capable of, but when the Ipswich job came around, and speaking to Marcus [Ipswich owner Marcus Evans], it's obvious that Ipswich don't want to be in League One.

"I, particularly, don't want to be in League One, so we have a great opportunity to help each other out."

Asked about a potential takeover of the Suffolk club by American businessman Brett Johnson, Cook said his discussions with Evans had been "totally about football", adding that he had "total confidence" in the owner.

'It wouldn't be proper to visit that now'

Paul Cook (right) with Leam Richardson
Leam Richardson (left) has worked alongside Paul Cook at Accrington, Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan

In all his previous managerial roles Cook has had Leam Richardson alongside him as his assistant.

But with his long-standing number two in caretaker charge of his former club Wigan, the new Ipswich boss will wait to potentially get his man.

"The reality of revisiting that situation when Wigan are in a relegation fight, when we both have a massive affinity to the club, I didn't think that would be correct and proper for us to visit that situation now," Cook said.

"So hopefully, maybe, we might revisit that situation at a later date."

Meanwhile, Ipswich midfielder Jon Nolan will be out until May after injuring knee ligaments in training.

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