The Stoke Sentinel understands that Derby County’s Gary Rowett is one of the top names on the Stoke City shortlist to become their new manager. Along with Republic of Ireland head coach Martin O’Neill, Rowett is being heavily linked with the newly free vacancy.
Following a shock FA Cup defeat to League Two Coventry City on Saturday afternoon, the Stoke hierarchy decided to dispense with Hughes, where he had been at the helm at the Brittania Stadium for four-and-a-half years. Rowett has been linked to several job roles over the last few years, having built up a fine reputation in the EFL from his time with Burton Albion, Birmingham City and now The Rams.
Although Rowett is someone the Potteries would clearly be keen to speak to, it is believed that the club won’t be making any such move for any potential replacement for Hughes until next week. Although Stoke are struggling in the top flight at present, a Premier League role is still an attractive proposition for any coach. Those out of work would certainly be keen, although former Everton manager Ronald Koeman isn’t believed to be in the running, according to Sky Sports.
With Sky Bet, former Leicester City and Aston Villa boss O’Neill is the current 5/4 favourite for the gig at the time of writing. Rowett, aged 43, is second-best price at 5/1. The likes of Ryan Giggs, Slaven Bilic, Aitor Karanka and Garry Monk are other names up the list at this present moment.
Stoke are next back in action a week on Monday, and the club may look to have a new man in place in time for that match with Manchester United, a former club of the now unemployed Hughes. With the transfer window now open, the new boss will clearly want to add his own stamp on proceedings, so the sooner the better for Stoke in that regard. A big question is will O’Neill be tempted out of international management to take on the role, just like Chris Coleman recently did when departing Wales for Championship strugglers Sunderland. Also, would Rowett want to give up on possibly leading Derby back into the top flight with them right in the thick of an automatic promotion battle?