Tony Pulis favourite to replace Mark Hughes at Stokeby Jack Kitson / 17 December 2017, 11:08Tweet
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is walking the managerial version of the tightrope following a wretched run of form which leaves the struggling Potters one point and one place above the relegation zone.
Stoke have registered just one win from their last eight Premier League games - a 2-1 victory over rock-bottom Swansea - losing five of the previous six, including Saturday’s shambolic 3-0 defeat at home to relegation rivals West Ham.
As a result Hughes now finds himself priced at just 1/3 to be the sixth top-flight managerial casualty of the season following the exits of Frank de Boer, Craig Shakespeare, Ronald Koeman, Slaven Bilic and Tony Pulis.
Funnily enough it’s Pulis who has been installed as the favourite to replace the under-fire Hughes at Stoke, with whom he previously managed on two occasions: 2002-2005 and 2006 and 2013.
In 2008 Pulis memorably led Stoke into the Premier League for the first time in their history and he went on to preserve the club’s top-tier status in each of the subsequent five seasons. He also guided the club into their first FA Cup final, and they went on to reach the knockout stages of the Europa League.
However, he parted ways with the club at the end of the 2012/13 season.
Pulis went on to manage Crystal Palace - winning the 2013/14 Premier League manager of the year award - then West Brom, where he lost his job in November following a poor start to the current campaign, with Alan Pardew coming in as his replacement.
Pulis has since been linked with the Wales national team, Rangers, and Birmingham City but should Stoke sack Hughes, rumours linking him with a return to the Potters will only intensify.
Earlier in the week Stoke chairman Peter Coates told The Sun:
“I don’t know what all the fuss is about, there is plenty of time.
“We were in a similar situation last season and came through it.”
It remains to be seen whether the manner of Stoke's shocking defeat to West Ham means he has changed his mind, but according to our recent poll 69% think Hughes should be axed.
Other names in the betting include Roberto Mancini, Sean Dyche, Brendan Rodgers, Slavisa Jokanovic and even Thomas Tuchel.