Souness favourite to replace Ince

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Former Blackburn boss Graeme Souness has emerged as the leading candidate to take over at Ewood Park after Paul Ince was sacked on Tuesday.

Ince was dismissed after just 17 Barclays Premier League matches in charge having presided over a club record-equalling run of 11 games without victory which dropped them to 19th in the table.

Souness appears to be top of the Blackburn board's list to return to the club where he at least presided over some success. The former Liverpool and Newcastle boss guided them to promotion into the Premier League in 2001 and won their last trophy, the Worthington Cup, the following season.

Chairman John Williams said he hoped he could have a new manager in place in time for Saturday's home match against Stoke.

That suggests he is looking at someone who is currently out of work and can quickly be persuaded to take over at Ewood Park.

Such criteria could also put former Bolton and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce in the frame. He was one of the contenders in the summer before it became clear the club were going with Ince.

Other names linked with the job include former Charlton and West Ham boss Alan Curbishley, ex-Liverpool boss Gerard Houllier, Chelsea's former manager Avram Grant, Celtic's Gordon Strachan and even former Rovers striker Alan Shearer,

"Appointing a new manager is our total focus," said Williams. "We acknowledge that timelines are tight for we are in a very worrying situation concerning our Premier League status.

"We will endeavour to have a new manager in place for Saturday's game but there are no guarantees and we must ensure that we get the right man.

"Our supporters can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to get the team climbing the Premier League table as soon as possible."

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Stoke City
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Bolton Wanderers
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Gordon Strachan
Alan Shearer
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