Cooke knows recipe for Owls success

TERRY COOKE has set his sights on being part of another rags-to-riches tale. The former Manchester City winger has agreed to sign a one-year deal with Sheffield Wednesday just 24 hours before the start of the new season.

TERRY COOKE has set his sights on being part of another rags-to-riches tale.

The former Manchester City winger has agreed to sign a one-year deal with Sheffield Wednesday just 24 hours before the start of the new season.

While his first goal will be promotion to the First Division, Cooke believes the Owls can enjoy a revival to rank alongside the Manchester City revolution of the last four years.

Cooke won back-to-back promotions with the Blues after moving to Maine Road in a 1m deal from arch-rivals Manchester United.

Although he was released by manager Kevin Keegan 17 months ago, he still played his part in turning the club around after a spectacular fall from the top flight. City are now in Europe.

The similarities between City and his new club Wednesday are not hard to find.

Both clubs have massive fan bases – the Owls have already sold 13,000 season tickets and will be the best supported club in the Second Division. Both clubs have Premiership stadiums and both clubs are steeped in tradition.

In his first interview after agreeing to join the Owls, Cooke said: "Just like Manchester City we have got good players and great fans so there is no reason why we cannot bounce back to the top too.

"I know that it is possible and I also know what will be in store this season. Every game will be like a cup final for the opposition and everyone will want to beat Sheffield Wednesday. We are the biggest club in the division, just like City was when I moved there.

"We have to put that out of our minds and concentrate on winning each game, week-by-week," he added. "It won't always be pretty because you have to go to some small pitches in small stadiums – but at Hillsborough, where there are such wide open spaces, we will certainly be able to play attractive football."

Cooke, who celebrated his 27th birthday three days ago, is returning to Hillsborough for the third time having spent two separate spells on loan at the club under Paul Jewell.

"I wanted to stay last time but Manchester City put a ridiculous price tag (1.5m) on my head," he said. "I don't blame Wednesday for not paying because at the time I was not even kicking a ball for the City first team."

Cooke was released on a free two years later and subsequently joined Grimsby Town in a stop-start bid to kick-start his career.

"It didn't work out at Grimsby," he reflected. "I couldn't understand why I wasn't playing – I was one of the fans' favourites," he said. "But we played really negative football and I must have been branded as nothing more than an out-and-out winger because the manager had no place for me in the team.

"That's why I am excited about joining Wednesday now – the gaffer here likes to play wingers and that suits me down to the ground."

Turner, hugely impressed with his new signing on trial, has challenged Cooke to rediscover his lost 'edge'.

"You don't play for Manchester United and Manchester City for nothing," said Turner. "He was still looking for a club after being released by Grimsby so that shows he had lost the edge.

"The ball is now in his court – we have the stage and he has the opportunity to revive his career," he added.

Cooke will play in tomorrow's opening game at Swindon Town but will soon face competition for his shirt from Matthew Hamshaw, returning from a knee injury.

ian.appleyard@ypn.co.uk