English League 2

Cook looking for title win

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Tue, 02 Jul 2013 18:53:00

Jan Kozak has been named as the new coach of the Slovakia national team.

The 59-year-old former Czechoslovakia international takes over from Stanislav Griga and Michal Hipp, who were sacked as joint coaches last month after winning just three of 12 matches in charge.

Kozak, who was previously in charge of Kosice, will immediately take up his new role on a contract that lasts until November 11, 2015, the Slovakia Football Association announced on its website following a meeting of the executive committee.

Slovakia are third in World Cup qualifying Group G on nine points, seven behind leaders Bosnia-Herzegovina and four adrift of second-placed Greece after six matches.

In September they face back-to-back matches against Bosnia-Herzegovina before completing their qualifying campaign with trips to Greece and Latvia.

The Light Blues boss has already held talks with Berra, 27, who is a free agent after being released by Wolves.

And he believes the Scotland international fits the bill perfectly as he steps up his efforts to recruit a centre-half for Rangers' assault on the Second Division.

McCoist told the club's website: "Without doubt, Christophe is someone I'm looking at.

"He's a player I would think ticks the vast majority of the boxes. He's a great age, a good player and he has vast experience.

"I know he has one or two options which I totally understand and the financial aspect will certainly come into it. I appreciate that because he has a young family.

"Christophe is someone we'd be keen to discuss terms with though and if we could get him in that would be great.

"We've been lucky enough to strengthen in other areas but centre back is a key position for us and it's important we strengthen there too.

"I've spoken to Christophe and to his agent. There's still an awful lot of work to be done if there's going to be a deal but the signs are we could possibly do something there."

Also on McCoist's wanted list is Bosnian defender Pandza, who was recommended by former Gers left-back Sasa Papac.

The 26-year-old is also a free agent and most recently turned out for Belgian side Mechelen.

McCoist said: "Boris has come to our attention too and my chief Bosnian scout Sasa Papac, who I talk to on a regular basis, speaks highly of him.

"They are both from Mostar so they know each other pretty well and Sasa has given him a glowing report.

"Everything we've heard about Boris has been very, very positive and he is another one we have been looking at.

"It's not rocket science. The majority of the goals we lost last season were from set plays and central defence is an area we'll certainly have to do better in this year."

Former striker Nacho Novo - who has expressed a desire to return to Ibrox - has been training at Murray Park but McCoist played down the Spaniard's chances of being offered a deal.

He said: "Nacho is in to use the facilities first of all. He's a well-known face around here and he's welcome back any time he likes.

"We've been having a wee look at him and as you can imagine nothing has changed. He's running about there at 100 miles per hour and is in good form.

"I've got to be honest and say we've signed a couple of centre forwards and our priority is getting a centre back.

"In that sense we'll see what happens. There's nothing in it at the moment and he's just coming in to train and enjoying himself with the lads."

McCoist has made seven signings so far, with Honduran midfielder Arnold Peralta set to arrive in Scotland next midweek after a holiday.

However, Rangers interim chief executive Craig Mather has warned more players may have to leave before he sanctions any more new recruits.

Carlos Bocanegra and Dorin Goian - on loan at Racing Santander and Spezia respectively last season - have sealed their permanent departures from the Light Blues.

Goalkeeper Neil Alexander also looks unlikely to be back at Ibrox after failing to reach agreement over a new deal, while Kane Hemmings was not offered a new contract.

Mather told RangersTV: "More of the squad could be moving on. There's potential for that, I'm not going to sit here and hide it.

"Ally has made no secret of the fact he'd like to make one or two more signings if possible and in principle I have no problem with that.

"We do have to balance the books though and look at it accordingly. It would be good for the stability of the club if we can get a couple more moved on as well."

Assistant Graeme Jones, chief scout Kevin Reeves and goalkeeping coach Inaki Bergara plus a member of the Latics' medical staff have all followed the Spaniard to the Premier League club.

Their arrival was made possible by the departure of Steve Round, Jimmy Lumsden and Chris Woods to Manchester United to link up again with former Toffees boss David Moyes.

And another reunion is on the cards as Wigan chairman Dave Whelan claims Martinez is the favourite to sign striker Arouna Kone from the relegated club despite bids from two other sides.

"Roberto has taken who he wants with him," said the Latics chairman.

"That deal has been done and we have already filled the vacancies."

Whelan said there was no compensation involved as he regarded the settlement he received from Everton for Martinez, believed to be around £1.5million for the Spaniard's final year of his contract, enough.

"We wouldn't even attempt to (get compensation) for staff who worked with Roberto as we got what was due to us for Roberto," he added.

Kone appears the next in line to join the migration to Goodison Park despite competition from elsewhere.

"Three clubs have made offers for him - Everton is definitely one - as he had a clause in his contract that he could go if someone paid £5million," Kone added.

"It is really up to him where he wants to go now and I think he will go to Everton."

However, Whelan is keen to hang on to his other key players - such as midfielder James McCarthy - to give Martinez's successor Owen Coyle every chance of getting back in the Premier League.

"We have always got interest in one or two lads but we have hopes of holding on to them," said the Wigan chairman.

"We have had people asking of course but we have had nothing serious on the table."

Ahead of his first full season in charge the Spireites are seen as one of the promotion favourites following the arrival of players such as Eoin Doyle, Jimmy Ryan and Gary Roberts at the Proact Stadium.

When Cook left Accrington in October to take the Chesterfield job he boldly announced that promotion was the aim for the remainder of the 2012/13 campaign, despite the Derbyshire club languishing in the bottom half of the table.

The Liverpudlian was not able to pull it off as the Spireites missed out on the play-offs by two points.

This time round the aim is the same and Cook believes the goal should be the Championship.

"Every club has targets and ours is promotion, ideally to win the league," he said.

"The aim is to get promotion, simple as that. The same as when I came in. The job spec doesn't change for a manager of this club. There's pressure on you to be successful.

"I think nowadays there's pressure on you for whatever reason. Some clubs have targets to stay in the league, some clubs have got a target to get out the league.

"And I think it's right to put yourself under that pressure because if you look for avenues to cop out then you are a cop out. Our aim is to get out of this league."

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