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Can Sparky Stoke The Potters' Fire?

Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes is the man appointed to stoke the fires at the Potteries, following the axing of Tony Pulis.

Stoke City confirmed on Thursday that the former Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich striker will be their new manager.

49-year-old Hughes has had a roller-coaster managerial career since impressing in his first job as coach of the Welsh national team.

Since then he has managed Blackburn, Manchester City and QPR, with his last two appointments ending in acrimonious sackings.

He has not worked since losing his job at Loftus Road last November, and Stoke will hope he has retained the spark that he had as goal hungry striker during his playing pomp.

Stoke sacked Hughes’ fellow Welshman Pulis after a successful seven-year stint at the club, during which their status as a tough-to-beat Premier League staple was augmented.

But the club felt it had stagnated under Pulis’ tried and tested physical, long-ball approach, and hope to evolve a more continental under well-travelled Hughes.

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