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May 27, 2013

Stoke waiting on Hughes decision

Stoke City hope to discover on Monday whether Mark Hughes is willing to make a return to management at the Britannia Stadium, ESPN understands.

• Hughes the leading contender

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has made preliminary contact with the former Queens Park Rangers manager about making a return to the Premier League as Tony Pulis' successor.

Coates held brief discussions with Hughes last week, and the Welshman asked to be given the weekend to consider the situation before letting the Potters know whether he wanted to be considered for the post.

Hughes is eager to return to management after six months on the sidelines following his departure from Loftus Road, and is ambitious to rebuild his managerial reputation.

It is believed he has strong support within the Stoke boardroom from Coates, his son John and chief executive Tony Scholes, all of whom are in favour of appointing the 49-year-old.

The ex-Manchester United striker has been given a briefing on how Coates wants the new man at the helm to take the club in a fresh direction following the departure of Pulis.

Stoke want a change of football philosophy and a more continental managerial structure after the recent appointment of technical director Mark Cartwright.

It is understood Hughes has been told he would have to work with Cartwright and would not be allowed to bring in Mike Rigg - his technical director at a number of his former clubs, including QPR, Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers.

That is believed to be one of the stumbling blocks for Hughes, as well as the fact that he will be asked to place a greater emphasis on the club's academy and producing home-grown players, with Coates looking to reduce the amount spent on transfers.

Departing director of football John Rudge has confirmed the desire of the Coates family to implement changes, saying: "They are trying to change the structure of the club to take it away from the more traditional approach to a more continental approach.

"That means the club dictating the policy more and the manager getting on with the first team.

"The manager, in the past, had control over players' contracts etc, but that's changing more to owners and chief executives. In general, they are definitely taking more responsibilities off the manager."

If Hughes decides he wants to be considered for the post, Stoke hope to arrange a formal interview within the next couple of days.

However, they also expect to speak to other candidates on their shortlist. Roberto Di Matteo, Gus Poyet and Malky Mackay remain under consideration, although Coates wants to accelerate the appointment process this week.

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