Southampton will hope Mark Hughes galvanises them with appointment on the cards

According to an exclusive report in The Telegraph, Mark Hughes is the leading candidate to replace Mauricio Pellegrino as Southampton manager after the Argentine was sacked by the club on Monday night.

What’s the word, then?

Mauricio Pellegrino watches on in Southampton draw with Stoke

Well, Saints relieved the 46-year-old of his duties following a dreadful run of just one win in 17 Premier League matches that has left the south coast outfit just one point above the relegation zone and in real danger of going down to the Championship.

The Telegraph says that Hughes is the favourite to get the role, with the club working to finalise an appointment in the next 24 hours.

The Telegraph adds that the club is looking for a manager that will make a big impact in the short-term, but also fit with their philosophy in the long-term of giving younger players a chance.

Would Hughes be a good appointment for Southampton?

Considering the position they are in they won’t have loads of options, even though the St Mary’s faithful are hopeful they can attract someone like Carlo Ancelotti, and can’t afford to be too picky, with some candidates probably not wanting to potentially tarnish their name with a relegation on their CV.

While things didn’t go too well for the Welshman at the end of his reign at the Britannia Stadium and with QPR previously, he did lead the Potters to three successive ninth-place finishes before they ended the previous campaign in 13th.

The 54-year-old knows the Premier League well and that is exactly what the south coast outfit need right now as they face eight matches – including against Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City – to try and save their skins.

Will he save them?

It’s difficult to say.

The players looked to have no confidence and almost gave up in the 3-0 defeat against Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday, and Hughes will need to lift the mood in the dressing room ahead of another crucial top flight encounter against fellow strugglers West Ham United at the London Stadium on March 31.

If he can do that then Southampton do have the quality in their squad to get the points they need to survive, but it could be a rollercoaster ride.