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Hughes must improve Stoke defence

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Hughes leading contender for Stoke job

Mark Hughes has emerged as the favourite for the vacant managerial post at Stoke City, according to BBC Sport.

• Blog: Pulis deserves credit

Former boss Tony Pulis parted company with the Potters on Tuesday following a seven-year spell in charge.

The Premier League side are believed to be in no rush to appoint the Welshman's successor, although Hughes has appeared to have caught the eye at the Britannia Stadium.

The BBC quote a source at Stoke saying that many at the club see the former QPR boss as a "good fit", and the man to lead a much-needed "change of direction".

Talks between the two parties have yet to begin but progress is expected next week, while Hughes is reportedly open to the offer.

The former Manchester United striker started his managerial career with Wales in 1999, before leaving the post to take charge at Blackburn. He then spent 18 months at Manchester City before shorter spells at Fulham and QPR.

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez is also under consideration, and the likes of Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez have been touted as contenders for the job.

Martinez has yet to make a decision on his Wigan future, but is expected to report back to club chairman Dave Whelan over the next few days.

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