Cook doing his best to get Stanley back on the boil
WHEN PAUL Cook was appointed last February, he was Accrington Stanley's first new manager for more than a decade.
John Coleman had led the club on a remarkable crusade through North-West non-League football, on their way back to the Football League place they had lost way back in 1962.
Cook (pictured right) was a careful choice – he had played for and coached at Stanley, after a fine career with Wigan, Norwich, Wolves, Coventry, Tranmere, Stockport and Burnley. He managed Southport and then Sligo Rovers in Ireland for five years, so he certainly 'served his time' before succeeding Coleman at the Crown Ground.
Cook has overhauled Stanley's squad, which now looks very different from the one which Coleman built.
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One of the survivors is in goal – 32-year-old ex-Liverpool, Shrewsbury and Halifax 'keeper Ian Dunbavin.
Youth product Peter Murphy is at centre-back, but full-backs Aristote Nsiala and Lee Molyneux are settling in after moves from Everton and Plymouth (2011) respectively.
Centre-back Rob Atkinson signed last month from Fleetwood after spells with Barnsley and Grimsby.
Long-serving Dean Winnard has been sidelined by injury of late.
It won't be a surprise if Cook plays a 4-5-1 formation with Padraig Amond (see Player To Watch) as a lone striker.
On the wings could be two newcomers, Aiden Chippendale from Huddersfield and Enfield-born Peiro Mingoia, who joined last month on loan from Watford.
There's plenty of know-how in central midfield.
Former Carlisle player Luke Joyce is now in his fourth season at Stanley, while Danny Schofield, 32, is a recent loan signing towards the end of a 500-game career with Huddersfield, Yeovil, Millwall and Rotherham.
The link between midfield and attack is supplied by Benin-born Romauld Boco, who started his career at Accrington, then played under Cook at Sligo and has now returned to his old club and boss.
It wasn't long ago that the talented Craig Lindfield and Charlie Barnett, both ex-Liverpool scholars, were holding down first-team places at Stanley.
But they may have to be satisfied with places on the bench, along with a clutch of youngsters.
They include midfielders Matt Whichelow, George Miller, Will Hatfield and Bohan Dixon, on-loan Irish forward Karl Sheppard from Reading and teenage reserve goalie Andrew Dawber.