Who will Stoke turn to after Neil snub?

Stoke City
Preston North End boss Alex Neil is a Stoke target.

Stoke look set to miss out on Preston boss Alex Neil and are now looking for alternatives following the sacking of Nathan Jones.

The Potters made Neil their number one target following the departure of Jones, with some media outlets suggesting that a deal had been done, but instead they have been reported for making an illegal approach.

Preston also issued a statement on Saturday night confirming that Neil is fully committed to the club and Stoke will not be granted permission to speak to him under any circumstances.

It is easy to see why Neil was top of the wanted list having guided Norwich to the Premier League back in the 2014/15 season while he has turned North End into genuine promotion contenders with one of the smallest budgets in the league.

However, with the chances of landing Neil now looking slim, the powers that be are now looking elsewhere, so who are the main candidates?

Chris Hughton continues to be mentioned and would be a very popular choice with the fans. Out of work since being harshly sacked by Brighton last season, and would play the attacking brand of football to get the fans on board.

However it has been suggested he is not interested in taking a job in the Championship and is holding out for one coming up in the Premier League.

David Moyes would be another popular choice with the fans and, like Hughton, is without a club so would save Stoke having to pay out any compensation. Short spells with Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Sunderland and West Ham have dented the reputation he earned at Everton, but he could be a good appointment nonetheless.

Lee Bowyer is now regarded as one of the best up and coming managers out there following his heroics with Charlton, who he guided to promotion from League One last season.

Bowyer may be reluctant to head north when he has a safe job with the Addicks, while compensation could also be an issue for the Potters.

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Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill’s name has also been thrown into the frame following the fine work he continues to do at international level.

He would arguably be a gamble though, considering his lack of EFL knowledge and experience, but there could be worse options out there.

Former boss Tony Pulis has also been linked with a sensational return and considering his record of never having been relegated, there is a case to be made for it happening. However, Stoke have moved away from that style of play and a move looks unlikely.

There are also reports in Germany suggesting that Stoke are weighing up former Schalke boss Markus Weinzierl. However his record of four wins in 23 games, before being sacked, will hardly excite the fans.

So there is plenty to think about for the Stoke board, but a new man is unlikely to be in place by the time they face West Brom on Monday night.

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