Claude Puel is the early favourite to take over as Watford's next head coach in transit.

But the 13th managerial appointment in eight years at Vicarage Road will hinge on the Hornets surviving their tightrope to Premier League survival.

Puel's whispering tone and calm manner guided both Southampton and Leicester to top-half finishes, although he was rewarded with the sack at both clubs. 

And the Frenchman is 9-4 front runner with bookies to take over from Nigel Pearson, who was unceremoniously fired on Sunday.

Hayden Mullins straps into the cockpit for his second spell as caretaker against Manchester City on Tuesday evening, fortified by a good-luck message from Pearson.