Derby ‘would reject’ Rowett approach from Stoke

Gary Rowett

Gary Rowett has guided Derby County to second place in the Championship

Derby County would “aggressively reject” any approach from Stoke City for manager Gary Rowett.

The Potters have yet to make contact with Derby as they look to replace Mark Hughes, who was sacked on Saturday.

It is understood Stoke would like to speak to Rowett, along with Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill.

However, a source has told the BBC that Derby would not welcome an approach for the 43-year-old as the club battles to gain promotion to the Premier League.

Rowett’s current contract contains a seven-figure compensation clause and his deal at Pride Park, which runs to 2019, includes large bonuses for getting the Rams back in the top flight for the first time since 2008.

Ex-Derby player Rowett replaced Steve McClaren in March 2017 with the club 10th in the Championship, and led the Rams to a ninth-placed finish.

Derby are currently second, 12 points behind leaders Wolves and two points in front of third-placed Cardiff.

Stoke ended Hughes’ four-and-a-half-year spell in charge after the shock FA Cup defeat at League Two Coventry.

Rowett and O’Neill, who verbally agreed a two-year contract to remain as Republic of Ireland boss in October but has yet to sign it, are the bookmakers’ favourites to replace Hughes.

Ideally, Stoke would like to appoint a replacement in time to take charge for next Monday’s Premier League game at Manchester United.

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