Cooke prepares a feast after penning new deal at Atherton Collieries

BRAD COOKE signed a two-year extension to stay as manager of Atherton Collieries – and then subsequently persuaded four key players to follow suit.

The former Colls captain has proved a huge hit in the Skuna Stadium hotseat since stepping in as manager following Michael Clegg’s departure for Ashton United in December 2019.

Cooke, who made 265 appearances for the club, scoring 40 goals, had been in charge at West Didsbury & Chorlton before returning to Colls.

Since his appointment, Cooke has overseen the club’s transition into Step 3 football for the first time in the NPL Premier Division and steered the club to ninth place this season with 13 points from their eight games before the campaign was curtailed.

Now, after steadying the ship at the Manchester club, Cooke has signed a two-year extension to continue the project started over the last two seasons.

But Cooke is not the only one to commit their short-term futures to the club.

Defensive quartet Niall Battersby, Clive Smith, Gaz Peet and Rick Smith are all on board for 2021/22 season.

Cooke told the club’s website: “We’re absolutely delighted to get these lads over the line after a really challenging few months for the football club.

“For them to agree to stay is a real complement to the club as a whole, especially with offers elsewhere, which have been turned down.”

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