Stoke City are searching for a new manager after the dismissal of Michael O’Neill and TEAMtalk understands Chris Wilder and Joey Barton are on the club’s shortlist.
O’Neill was axed Thursday after a poor start to the season. Stoke have lost three of their first five games and were knocked out of the EFL Cup by League One Morecambe on Tuesday.
That proved to be the final straw for Stoke chairman John Coates, who claimed the Championship club now want “to move in a different direction”.
The former Northern Ireland boss is the first Championship manager to be sacked this season. His assistant manager Dean Holden will take charge on an interim basis against Blackburn on Saturday.
In the meantime Stoke are working on a list of replacements who will have the likes of Dwight Gayle and Liam Delap to work with.
And Stoke Live report claim Coates is planning for a quick appointment, preferably before the transfer window closes on September 1.
TEAMtalk can reveal that Middlesbrough boss Wilder is on their wanted list. The former Sheffield United boss only arrived on Teesside last November.
Wilder backed in transfer market
Wilder, 54, had been out of work since leaving Bramall Lane in March 2021 after five years in charge. He lifted the Blades from League One to the Premier League and he is highly regarded.
He has been backed at the Riverside too with a number new arrivals this summer. In fact Portsmouth defender Matt Clarke became the club’s 10th summer signing this week.
But, like Stoke, Boro have had a slow start to the season and are without a win in their five games. Still, a move for Wilder will be difficult and Boro are not expected to want Wilder to leave.
Stoke though are also interested in Bristol Rovers boss Barton. But like Wilder, the former Fleetwood chief will be hard to lure away from the League One side.
Barton only signed a new four-year contract this summer after leading the club to promotion. He is under contract at the Memorial Stadium until 2026 and holds a strong relationship with Rovers’ boardroom.
Dyche to step aside
Two wins over Burton and Oxford from their first five games has been a solid start. And owner Wael Al-Qadi and CEO Tom Gorringe have backed Barton in the transfer market.
The likes of Luke McCormick, Jordan Rossiter and James Connolly have all arrived with more new signings expected before the September 1 deadline.
Meanwhile, another contender reported in the press, Sean Dyche, is not believed to be in the running.
The former Burnley boss is waiting for another chance in the Premier League, according to TEAMtalk sources. Dyche, 51, remains out of work after being axed at Burnley after 10 years last season.