What next for former Stoke City boss Mark Hughes?

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 17 January 2018, 15:53

It’s approaching two weeks since Stoke City sacked Mark Hughes following that devastating defeat to League Two outfit Coventry City. After a farcical search for a new boss the Potters found a surprise replacement in the all too willing Paul Lambert. But, what next for the discarded Hughes?

Below we run through the Welshman's potential options should he fancy a swift return to management.

The International Arena

A return to the Wales national team, where he began his managerial career in 1999, is out of the question as The Dragons have just this week appointed rookie boss Ryan Giggs on a four-year deal.

As a passionate Welshman Hughes is unlikely to become the next manager of Scotland, who are attempting to lure over Michael O’Neill from Northern Ireland, whereas Martin O’Neill is set to agree a new deal with the Republic of Ireland.

However, there are currently vacancies across the pond and Down Under...

Australia were left managerless just after their place in the 2018 World Cup was confirmed, and with the eagerly anticipated showcase spectacle rapidly approarching, the Socceroos are yet to appoint a successor to Ange Postecoglou. Hughes unsurprisingly doesn’t appear in the Next Australia Manager Market, which looks like it’s going to be one by the 2/9 frontrunner Bert van Marwijk.

The United States have been searching for a new boss since Bruce Arena resigned from his post back in October after the country’s failure to qualify through to the World Cup.

Dave Sarachan was placed in interim charge for the following 1-1 draw with Portugal, while the now Everton gaffer Sam Allardyce was previously linked with the post. With the hunt hitting a dead end, Hughes should hop on the plane and get his name in the frame.

However, if the 54-year-old is keen on an international job slightly closer to home then the Italy hot-seat is up for grabs…

Wait For A Premier League Position

Seven Premier League clubs have wielded the axe so far this season, and it would come as a huge shock if this tally wasn’t extended from now until May.

The two most likely top-flight jobs to open up in the near future come at opposite ends of the country: Southampton and Newcastle. Their respective managers, Mauricio Pellegrino and Rafa Benitez, are currently locked at 2/1 in the Premier League Sack Race, although Watford boss Marco Silva is worth keeping an eye on at 6/1.

There are a dearth of high-quality available managers out there at the moment, meaning should any of these clubs sack the above bosses, Hughes could be a possible “fire-fighter” option until the end of the season.

The Championship…?

At club level Hughes has never managed outside of the Premier League, but a switch to the Championship could be the next step in his managerial career.

This is what Hughes’ predecessor at Stoke City, Tony Pulis, chose to do after leaving West Brom in November, making a swift return to management with Middlesbrough a month later.

In recent years the likes of Aitor Karanka, Garry Monk and Steve McClaren have all been given the boot by top-flight clubs, only to return in the Championship shortly after.

In terms of available second-tier posts, there aren’t any at the time of writing, while surprisingly there have only been six casualties so far this season, compared to 10 at this stage last term. However, with the likes of Reading and Birmingham stuttering we could well see another change of manager soon.

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