Pep Clotet has announced that he is stepping down as manager of Birmingham City at the end of the season to focus on coaching opportunities elsewhere.
The Spaniard took charge of the Blues last June, initially on an interim basis, following the departure of Garry Monk, whom he was previously assistant to at St. Andrew’s.
Clotet’s departure brings with it a fresh opportunity for a new manager at the West Midlands club - below, we assess four potential options they could consider.
Current 4/1-favourite to land the job is former Newcastle, Norwich and Brighton manager Chris Hughton. The 61-year-old is currently without a job since leaving his post as Seagulls boss last year, and previously managed Birmingham during the 2011-12 season.
Hughton’s spell in charge of the Blues eight years ago was successful, after he guided them to a fourth-place finish in the Championship and subsequently cemented them a spot in the play-offs, before leaving to join Norwich in the Premier League.
The former Tottenham defender is currently out of the job so Birmingham wouldn’t face any contractual issues if they wished to appoint him. He has vast experience and also knows the club well having previously worked with them; it seems like a perfect fit.
Former Birmingham midfielder and current Charlton manager Lee Bowyer is the next name in the hat at 6/1.
The ex-Blues, Leeds and Newcastle man has enjoyed a tremendous opening tenure in management since taking over as first-team boss at the Valley, achieving promotion from League One at the end of last season after beating Sunderland in the play-off final.
The Addicks are currently under threat of relegation in the second-tier and could well go down when football resumes later this month, though there is still all to play for at the bottom end of the Championship.
Bowyer would see an increased transfer budget if he did make the move to St. Andrew’s, something which could ultimately prize him away from his ongoing project in SE7.
The 43-year-old is under contract with the Addicks until 2023, though, which would mean that Birmingham would have to shell out to acquire his services.
Charlton boss Lee Bowyer's name is in the frame
We’ve lost count how many times Neil Warnock has claimed that he is retiring from football management.
The 71-year-old vowed that his previous role as Cardiff City boss would be his last but has since left the door ajar for another venture, so naturally he finds himself in the running for the upcoming vacancy at Birmingham, priced at 12/1.
A stalwart in the Championship dugout, Warnock knows the division inside out and would bring a wealth of experience to the West Midlands club if he were to be appointed at the end of the season.
In truth, we’re actually quite surprised to learn that he has never managed the Blues, but can see him launching into a foul-mouthed tirade at a poor fourth official, dressed head to toe in a loosely-fitted Birmingham tracksuit, extremely vividly.
Like Hughton, Warnock is currently a free agent so this move could be completed swiftly and, more importantly, cheaply.
Another man who knows the Championship like the back of his hand is former Sunderland, Wolves and Ipswich Town gaffer Mick McCarthy.
Much like Warnock, McCarthy is a meat and potatoes-style manager whose methods may seem a little outdated to many, but you cannot argue with some of the results he has achieved during his extensive career in the hot seat.
McCarthy is fresh out of the managerial game having left his post as Republic of Ireland manager back in April, so will likely be itching to get back into the swing of things.
The 61-year-old is unattached so would not cost Birmingham a penny to appoint, and has plenty of experience in the Championship, winning the division twice with Sunderland and Wolves in 2004-05 and 2008-09 respectively.
At 12/1, McCarthy could be a solid outside bet for the role.