Cook confirmed - with former Canary set to remain part of Ipswich set-up

Former City coach Matt Gill has returned a positive coronavirus test.
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focu

Former City coach Matt Gill has returned a positive coronavirus test. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Former Norwich City Under-23s boss Matt Gill is set to remain at Ipswich Town under the club’s new management structure - with Paul Cook now confirmed as the Tractor Boys' new boss.

Gill - who also made 16 appearances for City as a player - left Carrow Road in October 2018 to become part of Paul Lambert’s backroom team at Portman Road and doubt was cast over his future following the Scot’s exit on Sunday. 

However, Town general manager Lee O'Neill insisted Gill, who will take charge of Town’s League One clash against Accrington Stanley on Tuesday night, will be part of the next manager’s staff when speaking ahead of Cook's official arrival this lunchtime.

O’Neill said: “Obviously the manager (Lambert)  brought him in but we’ve all seen really good things in Matt, even over the last two or three weeks he’s really helped Paul with Stuart (Taylor) not being at the games through the situation at home.  

“Those two members of staff, Matt and Jimmy Walker, are great for the club, really good characters doing very good in their own roles in different areas.  

“I think it’s important for the football club to have stability in those roles and they are developing so they are people we would want at the football club. So whoever the new manager may be, they are part of the club structure going forward.” 

Former Wigan boss Cook is also a former Norwich player but only made eight appearances for the Canaries, six of which were in the top flight during Dave Stringer's reign, with the midfielder going on to play for clubs including Coventry, Wolves and Burnley.

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Having made the breakthrough with Wigan, he joined Norwich as a 21-year-old for £73,000 and after one league appearance as a substitute during 1988-89, he started the final three games of that season to help secure fourth place in the top tier.

A further two appearances as a substitute followed at the start of 1989-90 before being sold to Wolves for around £250,000 in November 1989.

Speaking in April 2019, ahead of Wigan playing Norwich in a Championship clash, he recalled:  “Enjoyed Norwich, fantastic city, great club, had some fantastic years, a Premier League club for sure.

"Great infrastructure down there, it’s great to see the way the model is going in terms of young, energetic players who can all handle a ball and play.

“That normally leads to a little bit of success and it’s something that clubs like ourselves have got to be looking towards doing.”

Cook won the League Two title with Chesterfield in 2014 and Portsmouth in 2017, then the League One title with Wigan in 2018 - who were only relegated last season as a 12-point deduction due to financial problems dragged them down from mid-table.

Ipswich sit eighth and only two points adrift of the play-offs after two wins on the spin so still have a chance of keeping their League One stint to two seasons.

“I’m delighted to announce that Paul Cook is our new manager,” Town owner, Marcus Evans, told his club's website.

“He has a proven track record in getting clubs promoted and importantly, not only knows the challenges League One presents but also has experience of working in the Championship and getting back to that level remains our primary focus.

“He took Wigan up to the Championship in his first year, kept them up and they would have comfortably finished in mid-table last season if it wasn’t for their points deduction.

“In our conversations, he has shown a great desire to become our next manager and I have been impressed by his ideas and ambitions to help take Ipswich Town forwards and I look forward to working with him as we strive firstly to return to the Championship.

“He knows he will be working with a squad of players that is as good as any in this division and I believe Paul will bring the energy, the enthusiasm and the experience that can fully enhance our promotion aspirations.

“As well as having a history - and on-going desire - of developing a winning formula, his teams have played in a style which is totally in line with the club’s ambitions to develop an Ipswich Town playing ethos.

“I’m sure our supporters will give Paul a great welcome - albeit from afar at the moment - and get right behind him and the players as we enter what promises to be an exciting conclusion to the season.”

Cook, who has signed a contract until 2023 and will take training for the first time on Thursday, added: “First I want to wish Paul (Lambert) and Stuart (Taylor) all the best for the future. I know them both and it’s a hard business, football.

“It’s been a quick turnaround with zoom meetings with the owner but Marcus has given me the opportunity to manage what is a great football club and that is a massive honour for me and my family.

“I’m proud to be in this position and I’ll be doing everything possible to repay the faith Marcus has shown in me.

“Winning promotion this season is the immediate target. It will be a big challenge but it’s a challenge that everyone at the club has a part to play in.”    

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