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Mark Hughes is the hot favourite to take over following Tony Pulis' departure from Stoke but our tipster thinks that the suspended Brighton manager offers an intriguing alternative

While his seven-year stint at the helm brought Stoke City unprecedented progress, Tony Pulis' primitive style of football won few fans over and ultimately cost the Welshman his job after a disappointing 2012-13 season.

Chairman Peter Coates bankrolled the Staffordshire club's rise during the Pulis years and is now in search of a manager capable of taking the team to the next level.

Mark Hughes is the clear favourite to fit that bill, with Coral offering odds of just 3/10 (1.30) on the former QPR boss taking the reins at the Britannia Stadium, having already held talks with the club's directors.

NEXT STOKE MANAGER

CORAL ODDS
Mark Hughes 3/10
Martin O'Neill 8/1
Roberto Martinez 14/1
Gus Poyet 14/1
Roberto Di Matteo 14/1
Martin O'Neill is another fiery competitor who no doubt would be determined to restore his reputation after being relieved of his duties at Sunderland last season and the Northern Irishman's availability makes him an attractive proposition at 8/1 (9.0).

However, Pulis' suggestion upon his dismissal that Coates was hoping to take the club 'in a different direction' may open the door for a purveyor of more aesthetically-pleasing football, leading to a number of names cropping up for consideration.

Roberto Martinez's Wigan have been the antithesis of Stoke over the last few seasons, with their refusal to betray a free-flowing football ideology eventually costing them a place in the top flight but winning plenty of admirers along the way.

However, the Spanish coach would be much in demand should he decide to leave the DW Stadium and, with Everton supposedly sniffing around, he is probably best avoided at odds of 14/1 (15.0).

Gus Poyet's fallout with the Brighton board following their play-off defeat to Crystal Palace seemed suspiciously like a 'come and get me' plea to any Premier League suitors. The Uruguayan could be the ideal candidate to develop a passing game at the Potteries, making odds of 14/1 (15.0) well worth a punt.

Aside from winning the FA Cup and Champions League as caretaker boss at Chelsea, Roberto Di Matteo has demonstrated an aptitude for playing crowd-pleasing football with unfashionable MK Dons and West Brom in the past, and the unattached Italian is also worth considering at 14/1 (15.0).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has established himself as an exciting young manager after winning two successive league titles in his native Norway and the Molde coach is an interesting outside bet at 33/1 (34.0) having shown a desire to work in England.

BET
OF THE
DAY
VALUE BET
Gus Poyet to be next Stoke manager at 14/1 (15.0) with Coral

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Al Hain-Cole is a Liverpool fan, experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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