Mark Hughes looks favourite for Stoke job

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Mark Hughes could be confirmed as the new manager of Stoke City before the end of the week.

Hughes, the former Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City, ­Fulham and Queens Park ­Rangers manager, is the current favourite for the post vacated by Tony Pulis last week.

Stoke have also been linked with Roberto Martinez, who is to leave Wigan, but discussions with 49-year-old Hughes are ­believed to have taken place.

Hughes has been out of work since he was sacked by QPR last November.

The Potters parted company with Hughes’ fellow Welshman Pulis by mutual consent last Tuesday after seven years together. Chairman Peter Coates said last week that the club were intending to move in a different direction.

Pulis guided the club into the Premier League in 2008 and they have stayed there since, also reaching the FA Cup final in 2011 and subsequently playing in the Europa League.

For Hughes, Stoke may present a challenge similar to the one he took on at Blackburn, whom he led to three successive top-ten Premier League finishes and two FA Cup semi-finals ­before leaving in 2008.

He may also welcome the ­stability that life at the ­Britannia Stadium would seem to offer after the uncertainties of Loftus Road.

Hughes might also be able to work better with the Potters’ current squad of players than Martinez, although the suggestion is the club want to tone down their former robust style.

Pulis certainly started to come under fire from fans in the latter months of his reign over a perceived lack of development. He defended his record after his exit, though, saying: “I feel proud of the fact that I leave a club I found near the bottom of the Championship near the midway point of the Premier League.”