Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill has been installed as the bookmaker’s favourite for the vacant Stoke City position – following the sacking of Mark Hughes yesterday evening.
Hughes’ four-and-a-half-year tenure at the Bet365 Stadium came to an end following a shock 2-1 FA Cup defeat to League Two side Coventry City – which leaves the Potters out of both domestic cups and languishing in the Premier League relegation zone.
And it is O’Neill who has emerged as the front-runner to guide the club to safety – with the former Celtic boss heading the market at a price of 11/4 to take over from Hughes.
O’Neill is yet to sign a contract extension with the FAI following Ireland’s failure to qualify for this summer’s World Cup – and he has repeatedly been linked with a return to club management in recent weeks as speculation mounts over his future.
Other notable inclusions in the market are former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic, Michael O’Neill – and former Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs.
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane also features in the betting, with the Corkman 25/1 to take the reigns at Stoke.
While it is just speculation as of now, the rumours will do no favours in easing the growing certainty which surrounds the future of the O’Neill-Keane era.
Stoke will look to make an appointment as quickly as possible, with the Potters facing Manchester United at Old Trafford in a crucial Premier League clash on Monday, January 15.
Will O’Neill be the man standing in the dugout opposite Jose Mourinho in a few days’ time? Many Ireland supporters will be hoping not.
The Derryman will need to sign his contract extension soon – or else fears will continue to mount for the future of the national team.