Stoke City managed to avoid their fifth Premier League defeat in a row with a 1-1 draw against Tony Pulis’ West Bromwich Albion on Saturday. A very late equalizer from Jose Salomon Rondon robbed two points from the Potters. Just when we would have thought that the manager Mark Hughes finally gets some breathing space, a report from The Daily Express gives us some serious pause.
The Daily Express suggests that the Potters are weighing up a move for out of work manager Steve Bruce in order to replace Mark Hughes. Well, after the kind of start Stoke City had to their season, it is quite understandable that Hughes is leading the sack race but does he deserve the axe right now? Even if he does, is Bruce the right choice?
Since Mark Hughes took charge of Stoke City, the Potters never had to look back and over the last three years, the Stoke on Trent side improved drastically as a unit. It was not an overnight process to translate the Potters into a free-flowing attacking side from a Tony Pulis’ team that used to be ill-known for their ugly and unattractive brand of football. Hughes did not only install an attacking and attractive brand of football at the club, but he also established Stoke City into a top-half club.
After three back to back ninth-placed finishes under Hughes, this was supposed to be the season when the Potters took the next step but they failed to get a good start to the season. It has indeed been a poor run of form for the Potters but Hughes has overcome such situations earlier in his career and there is no reason why he cannot replicate that.
Stoke City have always been a slow starter under Hughes. Even last season, they failed to win any of their opening six Premier League fixtures but still went on to finish ninth. The Coates family should definitely show more patience in the manager whom they trusted for such a long time. If they could have given him such leeway for so long, it actually makes zero sense to pull the lever right now. If things do not improve by Christmas, then maybe this subject could be revisited but as of right now, it is way too early to discuss this.
If Stoke City decide to part ways with Mark Hughes, Steve Bruce looks like a decent choice. The Englishman possesses an immense experience both as a player and a manager. Whatever Hull City are right now, they should be grateful to the 55-year-old. He is out of work right now since leaving Hull City in the summer after a dispute with the owners due to their lack of ambition. Stoke City would like someone who can take charge right away rather than bringing someone who has to get a ‘divorce’ with his current employers.
Being a world-class defender during his playing days, Bruce has what it takes to solve the defensive calamity at the Bet365 Stadium. With very limited resources at Hull City, Steve Bruce did a fine job. The ambition of the Stoke owners is unquestionable and with their backing and the wealth of quality already at Stoke’s disposal, Bruce could be a big success at Stoke. As of right now though, Stoke City should stick to Mark Hughes but time is running out fast for the Welsh gaffer.