Sportfile

Gary Rowett and Martin O’Neill are front-runners under consideration by Stoke City as a possible replacement for Mark Hughes, Sky Sports reports.

Hughes was fired on Saturday night after his side’s dreadful run of form continued with a 2-1 defeat by League Two side Coventry in the third round of the FA Cup.

Stoke would like to have a new manager in position in time for the game against Manchester United on January 15 but Sky Sports reports the club hasn’t ruled out the possibility of an interim appointment until the summer.

The club’s board will begin the process of drawing up a shortlist of candidates on Monday and, whilst the preference would be for a British manager, Stoke’s hierarchy will not rule out foreign coaches.

Derby County boss Rowett, who has taken his side to second place in the Sky Bet Championship table, has 18 months left on his contract.

Former Leicester manager O’Neill verbally agreed a two-year extension to his contract with the Republic of Ireland in October.

Ronald Koeman, sacked by Everton in October, is another man under consideration though sources have told Sky Sports the Dutchman may have other priorities.

Whoever takes over at the bet365 Stadium will have to arrest a poor run of form which has seen Stoke drop into the Premier League’s bottom three with 16 games remaining.

They have only won twice since the end of October, with eight defeats in their last 11 games in all competitions.

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