Cook celebrates during Sligo's 3-0 win over Bohemians last Friday night. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer
On the move?

St Johnstone confirm talks with Sligo boss Paul Cook

Paul Cook is the favourite to fill the Scottish side’s vacant managerial post.

SLIGO ROVERS BOSS Paul Cook is the front-runner to replace Derek McInnes as manager of SPL club St Johnstone.

Bookmakers have slashed their odds to as little as 1/8 in places after both clubs confirmed that the Perth side had contacted Cook as part of their search following McInnes’ departure to Bristol City.

Speaking to BBC Scotland this morning, Saints chairman Geoff Brown said that they have opened discussions with the Liverpudlian who took over at Sligo in 2007 following a brief spell with Conference side Southport.

It is understood that Cook, who has one year still to run on his contract at the Showgrounds, was recommended for the position by McInnes. The pair were briefly team-mates at Stockport County while McInnes was on loan there in 1998.

Sligo were unavailable for comment when contacted by this afternoon, although club spokesman Keith O’Dwyer did confirm the negotiations to STV North earlier today.

O’Dwyer said that that it would be a “huge blow” if Cook did agree terms and leave, but told the station that Sligo “would never stand in the way of any manager who would look to better himself in their career.

Sligo play their final league game of the season this Friday, but reports suggest that any deal would not be completed until after they have defended their FAI Cup title against Shelbourne in the Aviva Stadium on 6 November.

Cook could then take charge of his new club 24 hours later when St Johnstone face Aberdeen.

Livingston manager Gary Bollan and the Saints’ current caretaker manager Alec Clelland are also thought to be in the frame for the job, while club captain Jody Morris has ruled out early retirement in order to move into management.

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