Spare a thought for Sparky Hughes. The poor lad did a magnificent job managing Blackburn but having jumped into the hot seat at Manchester City, he now finds his position increasingly untenable as key decisions are being made behind his back.
Hughes, despite supposedly having a say in the shape of his squad, is facing the prospect of losing Stephen Ireland this week as City struggle to balance the books because owner Thaksin Shinawatra’s assets have been frozen, claims The Daily Mirror, despite the FA’s legendarily rigorous standards.
According to reports, the former Manchester United striker is already fuming about Vedran Corluka’s move to Tottenham and only found out that Stephen Ireland was being sold behind his back hours before the 1-0 win over AC Milan on Saturday, when he was told the news by the media.
The Mirror reckons Ireland was advised by senior official Paul Aldridge not to play:
“in case he picked up an injury and would miss out on a move to Sunderland, with Bolton also interested in him.”
Despite naming Ireland in the squad the midfielder did not turn up for the game. Hughes was outraged and only discovered what was going on, says the Mirror:
“when coach Mark Bowen found out from keeper Joe Hart that Ireland’s absence was because he was about to be sold.”
With the sale of Corluka and Ireland looking a done deal, Hughes position at the club seems increasingly fragile. With growing talk that Petrov (and possibly Micah Richards) will also be sold, Hughes might well be tempted to walk with the start of the season just days away.
After initially being heralded as the club’s saviour, owner Thaksin Shinawatra is fast becoming one of the most unpopular figures in the Premier League.