Date: 26th May 2013 at 8:02pm
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As the hunt for the new manager of Stoke City continues into a second week, Mark Hughes has emerged as the bookies` favourite, albeit not with Bet365 who are the only firm not offering odds because of a conflict of interest.

The former Wales, Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers boss is considered a ‘good fit` for the role as the club look to go in a different direction after Tony Pulis`s departure last Tuesday.

The news of Hughes leading a pack of managers including, Roberto Di Matteo, Roberto Martinez and Gus Poyet, hasn`t gone down particularly well with supporters on message boards and social media sites.

His sacking from bottom club QPR is what some claim to be justifiable reason to prove he is a manager incapable of taking the Potters to the next level.

Delve a bit deeper, though, and you`ll find that the ex-Manchester United striker has a pretty decent record in club management and has, in the past, delved into a club`s Academy – a key job requirement for the future Potters boss.

It was during his first full-time managerial position that Hughes undoubtedly experienced his biggest highs by guiding Blackburn to Premier League safety in his first season in charge, before following it up with a top 6 finish and Europa League qualification.

The following two seasons saw Hughes consolidate the Lancashire club in the top ten of the League and reach the last 32 of Europe`s second competition.

During his time at Rovers he unearthed a plethora of talent including David Bentley, Roque Santa Cruz and Christopher Samba, all of who would go on to command 8-figure transfer fees later in their careers.

Before leaving for Manchester City in the summer of 2008, Hughes had also guided Rovers to three-consecutive FA Cup semi-finals and reached the last four of the League Cup.

Millionaire Tasksin Shiniwatra choose the Welshman to replace Sven Goran Eriksson as the Citizens head coach, and before the Abu Dhabi group took over at the end of that summer, Hughes had signed Vincent Kompany and Pablo Zabaleta – two players who would go on to become stalwarts of a title-winning side.

A mass of signs arrived on that final day of the transfer deadline-day as the new investors set about stamping their mark on the club which saw the British record transfer fee smashed when the problematic striker Robinho was signed from Real Madrid for £32.5 million.

Finishing tenth in the Premier League and reaching the quarter-finals of the Europa League wasn`t enough for the impatient owners, who sacked Hughes on the eve of a League Cup semi-final with Manchester United after just 18 months at the Etihad.

Whilst at Manchester City, Hughes justifiably gained a reputation for bringing through players from the club`s youth system. Joe Hart, Daniel Sturridge, Micah Richards, Stephen Ireland and Nedum Onuoha all played in excess of 20 games during Hughes`s first season in charge.

The following campaign his services were called upon by Fulham owner Mohamed Al-Fayed and he led the Cottagers to an eighth placed finish and entry into the following seasons` Europa League through the Fair Play league.

He resigned at the end of his first season, though stating: “As a young, ambitious manager I wish to move on to further my experiences.”

For the first time in his career, Hughes took over a club midway through the season when, in 2012 he took the hotseat at QPR under the chairmanship of billionaire Tony Fernandes.

A plethora of expensive arrivals arrived through the doors of Loftus Road as another foreign owner felt the need to spend big to bring success to his club.

After taking over a side that sat a place outside the relegation zone on his arrival, Hughes guided them to Premier League safety, which included a crucial 86 minute winner from Djibril Cisse against Stoke in their last home game of the season.

The stat that tarnishes his decent record as a manager however came at the beginning of the 2012-13 season when his Rangers side went 12 games without a win and were sucked into a relegation scrap after spending big in the summer.

Hughes was sacked at the end of November but even Harry ‘Houdini` Redknapp couldn`t keep the side up despite spending more money in the January transfer window.

Looking back at his managerial record it`s clear to see why Stoke`s hierarchy see the 49-year-old as a strong candidate to take the club forward in a new direction.