This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
The Tykes will play in League One next season following their relegation from the Championship, and 55-year-old Cook is one of a number of individuals that the Yorkshire side are interested in to fill the role that Poya Asbaghi was sacked from in April.
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Cook only returned to Chesterfield, who now ply their trade in the National League, in February, just two months after his sacking from League One outfit Ipswich Town, but picked up just 20 points out of a possible 54 as the Spireites limped over the line into the fifth tier play-offs.
Would the experienced Scouser be a good fit for Barnsley? We asked the FLW team for their thoughts.
There’s probably a touch more scepticism with Cook because of how his spell at Ipswich went.
However, that job at Portman Road hasn’t been an easy one since Mick McCarthy left and it shouldn’t overshadow what a good manager he is.
Yes, he’s down in the National League now with Chesterfield, but that feels like more of a romantic reunion rather than Cook not being rated at a higher level.
The job at Barnsley isn’t a straightforward one as they are hurtling back into League One, but it’s not quite the poisoned chalice he picked up at Ipswich.
There’s probably the chance for him to build something like he did at Wigan, where his reputation was really thriving.
Barnsley’s direction lately has been focusing on appointments from Europe and that’s given them success.
However, it’s been a revolving door for managers really at Oakwell and now is the time to go in a different direction.
With the right tools and with the time to turn things around, Cook could be ideal for them.
A couple of years ago I’d have said this is a fantastic appointment but Cook has had a torrid time at Ipswich between then and now and so I think the jury might be out, just a little, here.
I like Cook and think he is a fine manager who has a proven record in the EFL, so there’s a lot to like from Barnsley’s perspective but they’ll just hope that things do not go sour as they did for him at Portman Road if he arrives at Oakwell.
I do wonder how he’d get on with some of the decision-makers at the club if he joined but I guess overall you’d have to say that all said he’d probably still be welcomed very much by the fans.
He’s done a decent enough job at Chesterfield since leaving Ipswich, too, so it’s hardly that he’s become a bad manager or anything like that.
This is a tough one.
Firstly, you have to say that Cook is a proven winner at League One level, so it certainly wouldn’t be a bad appointment if he was to take over at Oakwell.
However, there will be real concerns with how his most recent managerial roles have played out.
Cook failed to get a very talented Ipswich squad going and whilst there were major changes over the summer, he still underachieved massively with that he had to work with.
Then, his time with Chesterfield at the moment hasn’t gone to plan, even if they are still in with a shout of winning promotion which was his target.
So, whilst you can’t forget the work he did with Portsmouth and Wigan earlier in his career, the past few years would be a worry.
If the Tykes had the Paul Cook that worked at those two clubs then it would be a no-brainer, but it would be a risk to appoint him now.