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It was no surprise when Mark Hughes fell on his sword and with Stoke struggling in the Premier League, an FA Cup exit at League Two Coventry proved the last straw for his employers. News broke on Saturday evening and we were straight up with the next manager market and there were no shortage of candidates and plenty of early money started to shape our market.
Despite the Potters indicating that they would prefer to appoint a British manager, former West Ham number one Slaven Bilic has been a name to catch the betting public’s imagination. The Croatian is the current favourite at 4/5 , having been shortened from as big as 16s after the first show.
Current Derby manager Gary Rowett, who had done a fine job at Birmingham before been surprisingly relieved of his duties, emerged as an early 5/2 favourite after opening at 16/1. Rowett is now the 4/1 second-favourite and would likely be a popular appointment amongst Stoke fans. Whether the lure of the Potteries will appeal remains to be seen, especially with the Rams well placed for promotion from the Championship this term.
Many thought Martin O’Neill would have been axed by the Republic of Ireland after their failure to reach the World Cup and he has been linked with a number of club sides recently. He has attracted support for Stoke and comes in at 8/1 . O’Neill has plenty of Premier League experience and his sometimes cautious approach would surely help in improving an abysmal Stoke defence, who have conceded 47 goals in their 22 league games so far this term.
There are a whole host of familiar names on the current list but a name many may not be familiar with is former City defender and current Ostersunds gaffer Graham Potter. He has done a remarkable job with the Swedish minnows and they are through to the last 32 in this seasons Europa League where they next face the mighty Arsenal! Potter is 16/1 from 25/1 and although his appointment would raise a few eyebrows many are advocating this route.
This market remains a fascinating affair however and as always with manager markets is extremely volatile with prices moving quickly. The advert of social media means many rumours and inside information is now freely available and as always the task for backers is to secure the correct and trusted sources. Stoke still remain a club with enormous potential and with a strong fan base they could certainly become a top eight challenger with the right man at the helm. We wish them and punters good luck in finding that person.