Mark Hughes would be open to discussions over becoming Saints manager on a permanent basis.

Hughes, who has already established himself as a hero with many fans after all but guiding Saints to safety with a game to spare, is clearly the frontrunner for the job.

His current contract only runs until the end of the season and Hughes has been adamant that he doesn’t want to talk about staying on while the focus has been on trying to steer the club to Premier League survival.

Saints wrap up their campaign against Manchester City at St Mary’s tomorrow knowing that they will stay up barring a defeat for them, a Swansea win and an improbable ten goal swing.

After that it will be down to the business of appointing a manager, and Hughes believes a quick decision is in everyone’s best interests.

He said: “I am professional football manager and this is what I do and clearly I want to be able to keep working.

“It’s not for me to put any pressure on anybody but if the club feels that they want to put some meat on the bones in terms of the discussion then I am open to that, but I don’t really want to discuss it before the game at the weekend.

“We will see. It’s something that I would be open to in terms of having discussions but the club might have a different view. We will have to wait and see.”

He added: “It’s important for the club that they do (make a quick decision) because clearly there is work to be done immediately after the season and decisions have to be made in terms of recruitment and retention of players so it would make sense for a quick appointment.

“I can’t shape that or dictate that, that’s a decision for the club.”

Despite this season having been so poor, Hughes thinks that whoever the new boss is will inherit a good club and a squad that doesn’t need wholesale change.

“It doesn’t need a great deal of change,” he insisted.

“There are a group of players here that want to get better, have the capability of getting better.

“Clearly every team will change personnel to give themselves what they feel will be an even greater chance of success in the season.

“You anticipate some players will go but other players will come in to try and enhance the group.

“That happens at every club and will happen here and you just hope that process goes well.”

Hughes also believes the current season will been a learning experience for everyone at Saints.

“For how difficult this season has been maybe it’s for the best because it makes people understand you have to keep your eye on the ball and you can’t make too many mistakes,” he reflected.

“If you do then a lot of teams around you can take advantage of that.

“If you get into that spiral of losing games it’s very difficult to shake yourself out of it.

“We’ve been able to do it at the end thankfully and we have got one more game to go.

“It’s not easy. Every game in the Premier League is difficult. It’s an old cliché but it’s true when you see a season like we’ve had.

“I don’t think in the future anybody here will underestimate how difficult it is to stay in the Premier League.

“From sixth position down everybody is at risk at the start of the season. It could be anybody.”