‘Sources at the bet365 Stadium suggest Mark Hughes has earned a stay of execution and will take charge of Stoke’s FA Cup tie at Coventry City this weekend. But rather than being a vote of confidence in their manager, it appears the club are merely biding their time while they look at alternatives to the Welshman.’

A weird state of affairs as even if Hughes engineers a cup win on Saturday he could be dismissed, more than likely after our next game away at Man Utd. The trouble is by delaying any managerial change or backing Hughes, we are losing momentum in stabilizing the team and adding much needed new players. Indeed West Ham have rumoured to bid £15m for one of our few in form players Joe Allen. If he left we’d be unlikely to sign a decent replacement. They are welcome to Glenn Johnson though who they were after in the summer.

The Stoke board need to either back Hughes so he can *gulp* sign his transfer targets or get a new managerial team in ASAP and get cracking in the transfer market. January is rarely a time for bargains and you often get overpriced players (or flops in our case – Imbula and Berahino both signed in January). Either way, Peter Coates and co. need to get off the fence and either back him or sack him.