Five contenders for Premier League Manager of the Season

With the season nearing a climax, Sports Mole assesses which managers are in contention to be named as the Premier League Manager of the Season.

With 11-time winner Sir Alex Ferguson out of the picture, a new name will emerge as the victor of the Premier League Manager of the Season award at the end of the campaign.

After guiding Liverpool to the top of the league table, Brendan Rodgers is the overwhelming favourite to be handed the accolade, but if the Merseyside club falter during the final weeks of the season the honour could be awarded elsewhere.

Below, Sports Mole assesses five names that are likely to be in the running to become the eighth name to be engraved onto the trophy.

Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers gives a thumbs up prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Arsenal at Anfield on February 8, 2014© Getty Images
1. Brendan Rodgers

Liverpool have been a revelation under the guidance of Brendan Rodgers this season, with the Reds dropping just four points from 15 matches since the turn of the year.

Their outstanding form sees them sit two points clear at the top of the Premier League table, and with 93 goals in 34 matches to their name, it is hard to bet against the Merseyside club winning their first league title since 1990.

They still face a mammoth encounter with Chelsea on April 27, but if Rodgers can get Liverpool over the line, he is almost guaranteed to earn recognition as the best manager since the middle of August.

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini prior to kick-off against Chelsea in their Premier League match on February 3, 2014© Getty Images
2. Manuel Pellegrini

Despite enhancing his reputation in Spain with Malaga, Manuel Pellegrini was something of an unknown quantity when he arrived at Manchester City in the summer.

However, his free-scoring team have been easy on the eye throughout the campaign and it's only recently that chinks have began to appear in their previously-undamaged armour.

City look up against it to win their second title in three years, but it's been a period of transition at the Etihad Stadium and they are likely to enter next season as favourites for the Premier League.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino of Southampton on the touchline during the Barclays Premier League match between Southampton and Norwich City at St Mary's Stadium on March 15, 2014© Getty Images
3. Mauricio Pochettino

Southampton fans feared for the club's future when Nigel Adkins was sacked in January 2013, but his replacement Mauricio Pochettino has turned the Saints into a top-10 side in the space of 15 months.

The football played by the Argentine's team has earned rave reviews, while the former Espanyol chief is playing his part in helping develop some of English football's brightest talents.

Five defeats in their last eight games have threatened to derail Southampton's year, but if they can remain in eighth position over their last four games, Pochettino will deservedly earn credit for helping transform a club who are only in their second season back in the top flight.

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis smiles prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Hull City at Selhurst Park on January 28, 2014© Getty Images
4. Tony Pulis

Crystal Palace boss Tony Pulis is widely regarded as the second favourite for the award after helping perform a remarkable turnaround at Selhurst Park since being installed as manager in November.

The Eagles were bottom of the standings when the former Stoke City chief arrived at the club, but 10 wins in 22 fixtures, which have included recent victories over Chelsea and Everton, have seen Palace climb to 11th place.

With home games against Manchester City and Liverpool to come, Crystal Palace and Pulis will have a big say in the destination of the Premier League title, and if they can overcome one or both of the title-chasing outfits, that could be enough to see the Welshman handed the award.

Hull City's English manager Steve Bruce is pictured before the start of the English FA Cup fifth round football match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Hull City at The American Express Community Stadium in Brighton, southern England on February 17, 2014© Getty Images
5. Steve Bruce

Along with Crystal Palace, Hull City have been one of the surprises of the season in their first year back in the Premier League after earning promotion from the Championship.

The Tigers were expected to be fighting for survival, but Steve Bruce has helped ensure that the Yorkshire outfit have stayed clear of the bottom three since the end of August.

Hull potentially need four points from their final five games to seal their top-flight status for another 12 months, but after a campaign that has also seen the club reach the FA Cup final, Bruce deserves to be recognised for his achievements on Humberside.

Liverpool's English midfielder Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the opening goal from a freekick with Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Sunderland at Anfield in Liverpool, nor
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1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2455141535-2020
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