Champion League

Stoke see “easy on the eye” John Eustace as leading contender

Stoke City have identified their current leading contender to replace Alex Neil as the club’s manager, according to a fresh report that has emerged.

Alex Neil sacked by Stoke

Back in August 2022, Neil was first appointed by the Coates family and it’s fair to say that he completed a full squad transformation over the summer, bringing in 19 new players, but his reign was ended last weekend after some recently disappointing form. The Scottish coach suffered four consecutive defeats against Blackburn Rovers, Queens Park Rangers, Plymouth Argyle and Sheffield Wednesday in the Championship, and it was the late goal against the Owls that made the owners put the final nail in his coffin.

The Potters have already been linked with a number of candidates who could replace him in the dugout, including Dean Smith, who is now on the verge of joining Charlotte FC, Paul Heckingbottom and Tony Mowbray, but there is an alternative currently in pole position.

Birmingham City sacked John Eustace completely out of the blue two months ago and the 44-year-old hasn’t yet begun a new role, but if the following update is to be believed, he has now set his sights on the vacancy at the Bet365 Stadium.

Eustace firmly in the frame for Stoke job

According to TEAMtalk, Eustace is leading the race to join Stoke, which could certainly be because of the fact that he had a spell at the club during his playing career, not to mention that he is open to the idea of taking over.

Former Stoke midfielder Eustace led Birmingham City to the Championship play-off positions in the early weeks of this season before being replaced by Wayne Rooney in a controversial move by the Blues’ new American owners. He is known to be keen on the job and is regarded as the frontrunner.”


Eustace’s “easy on the eye” style could be perfect for Stoke

As mentioned above, Eustace had Birmingham playing some attractive football at the start of the season which saw them reach the play-offs, so while it made no sense for them to sack him, Stoke could capitalise on their mistake by appointing their former player themselves.

Eustace’s 2023/24 Championship Record (Transfermarkt)

Neil’s 2023/24 Championship Record (Transfermarkt)

Victories – 5

Victories – 6

Draws – 3

Draws – 3

Defeats – 3

Defeats – 11

Average Points Per Match – 1.64

Average Points Per Match – 1.05

Points In Total – 18 from 33

Points In Total – 21 from 60

The Solihull-born boss is unbeaten against his admirers having won one and drawn the other of the two fixtures he’s taken charge of, so if he’s capable of guiding the opposition to a positive result, imagine what he could achieve in the home dugout instead.

According to Josh Bunting, Eustace gets his team to play “easy on the eye” football, and with supporters knowing that an appointment needs to be made not only to help them in the short-term but also someone with a long-term vision, he may be an ideal candidate.

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