Following their poor start to the Championship season, Stoke City finally decided to part company with Nathan Jones last week.
Jones left the club with a record of just six wins from his 38 matches in charge of the Potters. Rory Delap, Kevin Russell and Andy Quy have been placed in temporary charge of first-team affairs while the club search for a new manager.
Stoke are bottom of the Championship table and are now under pressure to appoint a new manager as soon as possible, ahead of their bottom-of-the-table clash with Barnsley at the weekend.
In the latest FLW Six Pointer, we discuss Stoke’s search for a new manager in more detail, including the club’s decision to part company with Jones and where they go from here…
Firstly, what do you make of Stoke’s decision to sack Nathan Jones?
“In the end, I think it was the right decision. Jones is a good manager, but things just didn’t work out for him at Stoke.
“The results this season have been nowhere near good enough and he hasn’t been able to get the best out of the players on a consistent basis.
“Back-to-back wins over Swansea and Fulham relieved some of the pressure on him, but this was followed by successive defeats.
“He’s had plenty of opportunities to turn things around, so in the end I don’t think you can question the club’s decision too much. They need to make sure they get this next appointment right though – if they don’t, they could be in trouble.”
Where did it go wrong for Stoke under Nathan Jones?
“It’s difficult to say really. Stoke have got some very talented players in their squad and Jones was able to strengthen in his team by bringing in some fresh faces in the summer.
“However, for whatever reason, he just hasn’t been able to get the best out of the players.
“The players are so low on confidence at the moment and that’s lead to them making mistakes, which have been punished.
“The club have never really recovered from their relegation from the Premier League and seem to be on a bit of a downward spiral at the moment.”
Is Rory Delap is part of the current management team, do you think he could be a good choice for the job?
“I don’t think it would be a sensible decision for Stoke to appoint Rory Delap. He’s a club legend and could make a great manager in the future, but at the end of the day the club need somebody with proven experience.
“He they need somebody to come in who knows how to get the best out of a group of players who are severely lacking in confidence at the moment.
“The players didn’t really show any fight or passion against West Brom last night, so I’m not convinced he’d be able to get the best out of them.
“He’s been involved at Stoke under Gary Rowett and Nathan Jones – the two management structures that have orchestrated their decline. Based on that, I don’t think he’s the right man for the job.”
Will Stoke City survive this season?
What do you make of Stoke’s interest in Preston North End boss Alex Neil?
“Alex Neil would have been a great appointment for Stoke in my opinion and I can completely understand why they were interested in him.
“He’s an old-school manager and he’s got plenty of experience in the Championship. He’s done an excellent job at Preston and I personally think he’d have been able to get the best out of the Stoke players.
“However, I can’t see why he’d want to leave Preston to take charge of Stoke. Why would he want to swap a possible promotion challenge for a certain relegation battle, it just doesn’t make sense?
“Stoke seem to have put all their eggs in one basket with Neil and that could end up proving costly.”
Who do you think would be a good appointment for Stoke?
“Tony Pulis is somebody who is available at the moment and he’s obviously someone who has been mentioned for the role given his personal links with the club.
“I personal think he’d be an ideal candidate to replace Jones – he’s exactly what they need.
“Stoke need somebody with proven experience in the Championship and they don’t come more experienced than Pulis. He’s never been relegated before and he knows exactly what it takes to achieve success in this division.
“The Stoke players are so low on confidence at the moment and they need somebody who can get the best out of them and help them get their season back on track.
“Pulis an old-school manager and he’ll know how to make sure the players get the basics right.
“He might have a reputation for having a defensive style of football, but Stoke have conceded far too many goals this season, but Pulis should be able to put that right.
“Given that he’s currently available and the fact that he’s achieved success at the club in the past, I think it would make perfect sense for Stoke to try and bring him back for a third spell in charge.”
Finally, can you see Stoke avoiding relegation from the Championship this season?
“If they get this appointment right, then Stoke have still got every chance of avoiding relegation from the Championship this season.
“At the end of the day, they’re only six points from safety and there’s still a long way to go. They’ve got some talented players in their squad, just need to start building some momentum.
“However, it’s very difficult to see them turning things around without the right man in charge. The players are so low on confidence at the moment and they need a new manager to come in and help galvanise the squad.
“The game against Barnsley at the weekend is absolutely huge and if they lose it, they could be in big trouble.”