A tale of two bosses - Hurst and Cook's differing non-league fortunes

Ex-Ipswich Town managers Paul Hurst, left, and Paul Cook are enjoying differing fortunes in the National League

Ex-Ipswich Town managers Paul Hurst, left, and Paul Cook are enjoying differing fortunes in the National League - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town boss Paul Hurst has been named National League manager of the month as his Grimsby Town side push for promotion to League Two.

Hurst, who lasted just 15 games as Town boss back in 2018, guided the Mariners to an unbeaten month in April, winning four and drawing two of their matches, including victory over then league leaders Stockport County.

Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst, right, with April's National League award winners

Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst, right, with April's National League award winners - Credit: National League

Their form has lifted them to sixth in the National League table with two games left in their season - a place above Chesterfield, who are also managed by a former Town boss.

But, in contrast, Paul Cook has been struggling since taking over at the Spireites for a second time back in February.

Cook, who led Chesterfield to promotion from League Two and into the League One play-offs in his first spell in charge between 2012 and 2015, took over in February with the side second in the league, a point off the top.

However, they've since tumbled down the table and now sit in seventh, the final play-off place.

Town manager Paul Cook with his head down as he walks from the pitch.

Paul Cook has struggled since taking over at Chesterfield in February - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Cook's guided the side to just four wins in his 16 matches in charge so far, with a 2-0 defeat at Torquay on Saturday the most recent reverse, as the Spireites battle injury problems.

Included in that poor run was a 4-1 home defeat to Hurst's Grimsby at the start of April.

Cook refused to speak to the media after Saturday's defeat - the second time since returning he's blanked the press after a loss.

Speaking before the game, he said: "I think we need a win or two to get in the play-offs.

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"I have just said to the lads that they can’t work this hard to stop now.

"The reality is we have still got an opportunity to be successful for our supporters and we have got to believe that.”