Former West Brom boss Tony Pulis has let slip that his former club Stoke City may have enquired about his services before he eventually filled the vacant Middlesborough role.
Speaking after watching his new side beat Bolton 2-0 yesterday, Pulis revealed that there had been other interests in him before Boro chairman Steve Gibson sold him on the role.
Quoted by the Sentinel, Pulis said: 'I'd had a couple of phone calls from other clubs before Steve [Gibson] spoke to me, but I desperately wanted to have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with my wife, children and grandchildren. I'd promised them that would be the case.'
It is assumed that one of the 'other clubs' that contacted Pulis may have been his former side Stoke City, after the Welshman spent seven years as the Potters' manager between 2006 and 2013.
Stoke have endured a backwards slide towards the clutches of the relegation battle, sitting just three points above 18th placed Bournemouth and holding the league's worst defensive record. This has led to Hughes' seat becoming dangerously warm, prompting calls to potential candidates, Pulis allegedly included.
However, the 59-year-old has insisted that he is now fully concentrated on his new project at the Riverside and focused on getting them back into the Premier League.
He added: "I'm not going to turn water into wine, I have to make sure that I have a good look at the place before I start making any predictions. The best thing we can do is get this club winning again, get the team winning, and get back in the Premier League, but that does take time.
"For me to stand up after being here for 12 or 13 hours (and talk about winning promotion), it's too much to ask."
Middlesbrough currently sit on the precipice of the Championship playoff places, and with Pulis' appointment, they hope to make an immediate return to the top flight following relegation last May.