Stoke axe Mark Hughes – MONs leading candidates

Stoke City have sacked Mark Hughes after nearly five-years in charge at the bet365 Stadium.

The former Wales and Manchester City boss has been under-fire in recent weeks following a run of poor results in the Premier League, and the final straw for the Stoke board was Saturday’s embarassing FA Cup defeat at League Two Coventry City.

Stoke confirmed his departure soon after the defeat at the Ricoh Arena, and the club are already known to have a short-list of managers they want to talk to.

The Potters gave Hughes a vote of confidence weeks ago, and as we revealed earlier this week – they have already been casting their eye over potential successors.

I understand that a number of foreign coaches have already made contact – but they may stay close to home, as Martin O’Neill, Michael O’Neill and Gary Rowett are under consideration for the job.

Republic of Ireland boss Martin has not been in club management since he left Sunderland in 2013 – but the chance to return to the Premier League could appeal, and it is his experience that is believed to be appealing to some sections of the Stoke hierarchy.

They are also keen on Michael – the Northern Ireland boss – whose stock has risen rapidly in recent years, given the fantastic job he has done on the international front.

Another name that is believed to be on the list is Derby boss Gary Rowett – who has impressed once again at the iPro Stadium, although he only took over at The Rams earlier this year, and would likely be very hard to prise away.

Spokesman Paddy Power said: “It has been obvious that Mark Hughes’s days are numbered at Stoke for a while now, and it looks like the Potters will turn to a (wing) wizard for his successor.”



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