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The four managers in the frame to replace Mark Hughes at Stoke City

Stoke City
Photo: Reuters

Stoke City

The four managers in the frame to replace Mark Hughes at Stoke City

Mark Hughes was sacked by Stoke City on Saturday evening just hours after the club had been knocked out of the FA Cup by League Two side Coventry City.

The result, combined with poor performances and a deteriorating league position ultimately brought the end to the Welshman’s four-and-a-half years in charge at the Bet365 Stadium and leaves the Potters searching for just their third manager in nearly twelve years.

Here The Boot Room looks at the potential candidates in the frame to fill the managerial hot-seat at Stoke.

Martin O’Neil

At the age of 65, Martin O’Neill certainly represents the oldest and most experienced potential candidate for the vacancy at Stoke City.

The Northern Irishman has managed in the top-flight with Aston Villa, Sunderland and Leicester City whilst also having a trophy-laden spell with Glasgow Celtic north of the boarder.

He is currently contracted as the Republic of Ireland national team manager but would be able to fulfil both roles in the short-term considering that the team failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.

O’Neill may be entering the twilight of his career but an opportunity to manage in the Premier League may be an opportunity too good to ignore and it may be that he brings Roy Keane along with him for the ride.

The duo may be just what is required to stimulate the immediate improvement in performances that is required but may ultimately represent a short-term option rather than a long-term solution.


Ronald Koeman

The Dutchman has been keeping a low profile since he was dismissed by Everton earlier in the season.

However, Koeman certainly has plenty to prove and he may be tempted to return to the Premier League by the prospect of working for a chairman, in Peter Coates, that would be willing to provide him with plenty of time to build his own team.

He may also be equally as happy waiting for a more high-profile job.

The 54-year-old has an abundance of managerial experience having spent almost two decades working in various leagues across Europe and was widely credited for the results that he produced at Southampton and his debut season at Everton.

Some supporters may be slightly wary of Koeman considering the way that he invested £140 million at Everton in the summer and it is not clear if he would be able to make a positive impact in a relegation battle where the confidence of players is low.

Brendan Rodgers

Former Liverpool and Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers is possibly the most high-profile name that is being linked with the Stoke City job but would also appear to be the most unlikely option at this stage.

It is hard to see the 44-year-old being willing to sacrifice Champions League football and the race for a second consecutive domestic treble with Glasgow Celtic in order to take up a relegation battle at the bottom of the Premier League.

The Northern Irishman is much more likely to hold out for a more prestigious position in the future and in reality Stoke would represent a step down in his managerial career.

Rodgers has an abundance of experience having played a significant role behind the scenes at Chelsea prior to spells with Watford and Reading in The Championship.

He rose to prominence with Swansea City which resulted in a high-profile move to Liverpool where he almost guided the Reds to the Premier League title until a now infamous slip by Steven Gerrard.

Now at Celtic, the 44-year-old went the entire domestic season without suffering defeat, breaking a century-old record, and looks certain to secure more silverware in the coming months.

Graham Potter

Ostersunds coach Graham Potter has emerged as a surprise candidate to succeed Mark Hughes and is reported to be keen to return to the club that he represented at the start of his playing career.

The 42-year-old took over the Swedish side in 2011 when they were in the fourth tier and has subsequently guided the club to three successive promotions, victory in the Swedish Cup last season and to the knock-out stages of the Europa League where they face Arsenal next month.

Potter has been widely praised for his innovative coaching methods and is supposedly keen to return to England having proved himself in a lesser European League.

However, his lack of top-flight experience would make him something of a risk and it is not clear whether he would be willing to leave Ostersunds immediately with a glamorous Europa League tie just around the corner.

A move for Potter would be a fairy-tale story but would represent a significant gamble by the Stoke hierarchy.

Martyn is currently a PTA and Research Assistant in the Department of Exercise Science at the Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU). In addition to his teaching role he is also undertaking a PhD in Sports History that is exploring the origins and development of football in Staffordshire. Prior to working at MMU, Martyn spent a decade operating in the sport and leisure industry in a variety of roles including as a Sports Development Officers, PE Teacher, Football Coach and Operation Manager.

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