Tony Pulis is reportedly in advanced talks to take over from Garry Monk as Sheffield Wednesday manager.
The former Stoke City boss has been among the bookies’ favourite for the vacancy since Monk was given the boot earlier this week.
Now it is claimed that everything could be sewn up before the weekend – and certainly in time for Wednesday’s meeting with Michael O’Neill’s Stoke at Hillsborough on November 28 – with a short-term contract until the end of the season.
That will leave Stoke fans hoping that O’Neill can break the curse of Pulis’s Stoke successors and actually beat him. He has foiled Mark Hughes, Gary Rowett and Nathan Jones in the seven years since leaving the Potteries.
Wednesday have managed to cut a point deduction down from 12 points to six but still sit second bottom in the Championship, two points behind fourth-bottom Coventry. They return to action away at Preston North End after the international break.
Pulis has been out of front line work since leaving Middlesbrough in the summer of 2019 but has always insisted that he had not retired.
He was in charge of Stoke for two spells that covered the best part of a decade. In his second under returning chairman Peter Coates, the club won promotion to the Premier League, reached an FA Cup final and the knock-out stages of the Europa League.
Pulis said last season: “I’m not so sure I’m ready for retirement. I think Debs has had enough of me already.”
He added: “I’m very open-minded about what to do. It was important I took a break. I don’t think anyone in football – and most probably at Middlesbrough as well – realised how difficult a job that was.”
Pulis’s first win as Stoke manager was ironically against Sheffield Wednesday back in the winter of 2002/03.
He has frequently referred to Wednesday as a “big club”, including when he managed to wrestle away their player of the season Glenn Whelan in early 2008.