Stoke City supporters have been drowning their sorrows in the Transfer Tavern in the last few days after seeing their side lose 2-1 at Coventry City in the third round of the FA Cup, a result which spelled the end of Mark Hughes’ reign as manager.
The 54-year-old took over at the bet365 Stadium back in 2013 and led the club to 71 victories in his 200 games in charge, helping the Potters to three successive ninth place finishes in the Premier League, as well as a 13th place effort last term. However, this season has been a struggle for the Staffordshire-based outfit with the side languishing in the bottom three, and Saturday’s shock FA Cup exit at the hands of Coventry was enough for the Stoke board to part company with the Welshman after three-and-a-half years in charge.
Subsequently, there has been much to discuss for our resident Potters fans in recent times regarding their team’s next manager, and a recent report from The Daily Mail suggests that Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill is ‘interested’ in taking over at the bet365 Stadium as their search for Hughes’ successor gets underway.
The 65-year-old has been in charge of the Green Army since 2013, in which time he has won 18 of his 46 games in charge, helping them to qualify for the 2016 European championships, where they lost to hosts France in the last 16.
Yet O’Neill’s side came up short in their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup last year by losing to Denmark in the European play-offs, thus calling his future into question, and it appears that the former Celtic and Sunderland boss is ‘interested’ in returning to club management with Stoke.
But with Derby County chief Gary Rowett also thought to be in the running, it very much remains to be seen who takes the reins at the bet365 Stadium.
Landlord’s verdict: It has been a testing season for Stoke City and their supporters, with their team’s shock 2-1 defeat to Coventry City in third round of the FA Cup the final straw for manager Mark Hughes, who was subsequently relieved of his duties.
Attentions are now turning to who could replace the Welshman, and with the club’s search for the 54-year-old’s successor underway on Monday, Republic of Ireland chief Martin O’Neill is reportedly ‘interested’ in the post.
The 65-year-old has done well with the Irish national team in the last four years in helping them reach the 2016 European championships, yet failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup has somewhat called his future into question.
O’Neill would certainly bring some defensive stability and solidarity to the Potters backline, but whether it would be a progressive appointment, in the same way another reported target Gary Rowett would be, is a cause of concern for our resident Stoke fans.
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