Stoke 0 – Newcastle 1
Stoke City are in a difficult spot.
The Potters are just two points clear of the drop zone and their fans are seething.
Mark Hughes has been slaughtered on social media this week following defeats to Chelsea and Newcastle.
Against Chelsea the Potters were pummeled 5-0 after Hughes played a hugely inexperienced side at Stamford Bridge.
To be fair to Hughes, Stoke had significant defensive selection problems for the Chelsea game.
But then Stoke lost 1-0 at home to Newcastle on New Year’s Day.
Cue frantic screams from all quarters of the internet that Stoke have to sack Mark Hughes to survive.
Mark Hughes may want to thank Everton
On Tuesday the BBC and Sky Sports have both posted updates on Mark Hughes’s position at Stoke.
What seems clear, for now, is that Hughes is staying put. The BBC have reported:
Stoke are considering the future of manager Mark Hughes after a disappointing first half of the season.
Hughes remains at the helm and is preparing the team for Saturday’s trip to Coventry City in the FA Cup.
As for the Sky Sports update, Stoke seem to be acting in the shadow of Everton’s experiences this season.
After sacking Ronald Koeman, Everton took five weeks before deciding on Sam Allardyce.
The understanding is that Stoke are not convinced that any of the managers currently on the market have a better chance of keeping them up when compared to Hughes.
Understand #scfc hierarchy are considering future of Mark Hughes, but they don’t like changing managers mid-season, and they have concerns about whether there’s a better replacement, currently. Don’t want similar situation to #efc who had 5wks between Koeman and Allardyce.
— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) January 2, 2018
Just what you'd expect from Stoke, an eminently sensible board. Harder & harder to see Hughes stopping the rot, but finding a guaranteed upgrade in Jan isn't easy. Right to look for alternatives, but don't blindly pull the trigger #SCFC https://t.co/2zFDZ2RyAt
— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) January 2, 2018
After the Coventry FA Cup tie, Stoke travel to Man United in the Premier League. That’s followed by two huge EPL home matches against Huddersfield and Watford.