Mark Hughes emerges as frontrunner to become Southampton manager

Mark Hughes emerges as frontrunner to become Southampton manager

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Mark Hughes is the frontrunner to take over as Southampton manager, Sky Sports News understands.

The 54-year-old, who made just over 50 appearances for Southampton as a player, is being considered to take over the job at St Mary’s following the sacking of Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday night.

Hughes was dismissed himself by Stoke City just two months ago, with the Potters in the bottom three following a poor run of form. But they had two ninth-place finishes under the Welshman before finishing 13th last term.

Hughes began his managerial career with the Wales national team and subsequently managed Blackburn, Manchester City, Fulham and QPR. He has never been relegated from the top flight as manager.

Meanwhile, Sky Sports News understands former West Ham manager Slaven Bilic and ex-Watford and Hull boss Marco Silva are not currently under consideration by the Southampton board.

Pellegrino, let go after just one win in their last 17 games left the team just a point clear of the relegation zone, issued a statement via the Saints website on Tuesday in which he insisted he “tried to do his best”.

“I tried to give back to the club and tried to represent the club with pride. Some moments we managed this, some moments we couldn’t, but we have been living a difficult season for many reasons,” the Argentinian said.

“The manager is the face of a lot of decisions and actions, but I always tried to put the club first with my technical staff and the board behind me.

“I am really happy with the hospitality of the people of Southampton and the respect you have shown me in every moment during this experience. The fans have been behind us even in difficult games and I am really grateful for your support in those situations.

“I have to say thanks to Ralph (Krueger), to the board, to Les (Reed) and Ross (Wilson), all my technical staff and all the Southampton employees. Also to my players, who respected me in every single moment. I feel so sorry to leave the club in this situation, but when you don’t get results I understand the decision the club has to take.

“I wish everyone all the best for the rest of the season, I have enjoyed an amazing experience and I know that Southampton has everything required to move forward.”

Former fans favourite Kelvin Davis – who made over 250 appearances in goal for Southampton – took Tuesday’s training session at their Staplewood training ground, as they prepare for an FA Cup quarter-final against Wigan on Sunday.

(c) Sky News 2018: Mark Hughes emerges as frontrunner to become Southampton manager