Hull City target Marco Silva to replace Mike Phelan as manager
The 39-year-old Portuguese manager guided Olympiakos to the Greek title last season
Marco Silva: the former Olympiakos coach could be on his way to Hull City. Photograph: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images
Marco Silva has emerged as Hull City’s preferred choice to succeed Mike Phelan, who was sacked on Tuesday night.
Considering the 39-year-old has no experience of English football and would inherit a largely British squad, his appointment would represent a considerable gamble on the part of the Premier League’s bottom-placed club.
Silva, though, is immediately available after leaving Olympiakos for personal reasons after securing the Greek title last season and could be set to accept the twin challenges of attempting to ensure Hull avoid relegation and endeavouring to beat Manchester United in their impending EFL Cup semi-final.
Before his sole season in Athens, Silva worked exclusively in his native Portugal, leading Estoril into the country’s top flight before a brief sojourn with Sporting Lisbon.
Despite winning the Portuguese Cup with Sporting in 2015 he was sacked shortly afterwards, apparently for failing to wear the club suit in the technical area.
It appears Silva could very shortly find himself being measured up for a Hull suit, with the club’s owners, the Allam family, hopeful that he could be installed in time to take charge of Saturday’s FA Cup third-round tie at home to Swansea City.
Hull fans have planned to stage protests against the Allams’ stewardship on Saturday but the presence of a new head coach in the home dugout could deflect attention from their grievances.
It appears Silva may well have already spoken to Hull but his candidature had been hidden until large bets were placed on him succeeding Phelan on Wednesday morning. Until then Gary Rowett, the former Birmingham manager, had been regarded as the strong favourite but it is understood there has been no approach for Rowett.
Even so Ehab Allam, Hull’s vice-chairman, is aware of Rowett’s abilities having received positive references from Darren Robinson, a friend of the Egyptian since their schooldays, who worked as Rowett’s head performance analyst at Birmingham. Rowett is being targeted by Nottingham Forest, where the manager Philippe Montanier is vulnerable.
Although Phelan retained the support of the Hull dressing room and many fans, the team had won only once in the Premier League since he formally accepted the job almost three months ago.
Steve Bruce’s successor is widely regarded as having done a decent job in an almost impossible context but he is believed to have upset Ehab Allam by emphasising that relegation is all but inevitable without considerable investment in the squad during this month’s transfer window.
With the Allams engaged in ongoing – but so far unsuccessful – attempts to sell Hull, they are not thought to be overly keen on restocking a slender, injury-hit squad.