Mark Hughes emerges as frontrunner to become Southampton manager

13/03/18 4:50pm

Former Southampton striker Mark Hughes was sacked by Stoke in January

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

The Saints sacked Mauricio Pellegrino on Monday night, having won just one of their last 17 games, leaving them just a point clear of the Premier League drop-zone.

The experienced Hughes, who made just over 50 appearances for Southampton in his playing days, is being considered at St Mary`s as their hunt for a new boss progresses through its early stages.

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Hughes was sacked 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.

The 54-year-old 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.

The sacked Pellegrino issued a statement via the Saints website on Tuesday, in which he insisted he tried to do his best to keep the team competitive this season.

Marco Silva , who was sacked by Watford earlier this season, is not currently under consideration

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.

WATCH: Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes Southampton are taking a gamble in changing managers with eight games to go
WATCH: Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville believes Southampton are taking a gamble in changing managers with eight games to go

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.

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