Stoke set to launch second bid to land Derby boss Gary Rowett after Paul Lambert sacking

Potters chiefs made the Derby manager their No1 target after sacking Mark Hughes in January.

But Rowett signed a new deal with the Rams instead and Stoke eventually appointed Paul Lambert who left the club on Friday.

Lambert was unable to stop Stoke sliding into the Championship after winning just twice during his 15 games in charge.

Rowett is now favourite to be handed the bet365 job, with the Potters having moved on from their initial interest in David Moyes.

Rowett went on to take Derby to the Championship play-offs this season before bowing out in the semi-finals to Fulham.

But the Rams’ failure to win promotion means there will be no significant squad investment at Pride Park this summer with Rowett having to stage a balancing act.

Stoke are likely to have cash to spend with star players such as Jack Butland and Xherdan Shaqiri among those certain to leave the Potteries.

WILL BOOZE Will Hughes shows he is still the ultimate Derby fan as he downs a pint of lager with supporters while watching Fulham clash

That could tempt Rowett although Derby will point out he has another three years left on his Rams deal.

And Derby bosses said four months ago they would "aggressively reject" any approach from Stoke.

But Rowett was on the verge of the play-offs with Birmingham City before his shock St Andrew’s sacking almost 18 months ago – and Stoke chairman Peter Coates will have noted the 44-year-old’s record in the Championship.

Ex-Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy is interested in the job while former Leicester and Derby manager Nigel Pearson – now with Belgian club OH Leuven – is also a candidate.

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