Luton Town will have a new manager in the dugout when they face Sunderland in a 'mouth-watering' clash after Nathan Jones quit to join Stoke City.
Jones was today confirmed as the Potters' new boss after holding talks with the Championship side.
Jones, who led Luton to promotion from League Two last season, had steered the club to second place in League One this term. They sit one point ahead of the third-placed Black Cats ahead of Saturday's huge clash at the Stadium of Light.
However, the loss of their highly-rated manager is a severe blow to the Hatters' promotion hopes, and will boost Sunderland's bid to finish in the top two.
Jones was linked with the Sunderland job when Simon Grayson was sacked before the club opted to make Chris Coleman their new manager.
The 45-year-old replaces Gary Rowett, who was sacked by Stoke yesterday after six months in charge with the Potters 14th in the Championship.
A Luton statement said that they would announce a replacement for Jones in due course, but urged fans to stay positive ahead of a 'mouth-watering' clash with Sunderland.
It read: "We can confirm that Nathan Jones has left Luton Town to take over as manager at Sky Bet Championship club Stoke City.
"In Football League matches, he has the best points per game ratio of any Hatters boss in history – his 1.820 per game from 139 matches in charge bettering Allan Brown’s 1.737 from 95 games. His win ratio of 51.1 per cent in Football League matches is also the best in the club’s history.
"We wish Nathan every success in his future career and would like to thank him for his service and the passion he has shown for our club. Further announcements on his replacement will be made in due course.
"We all look forward to a mouth-watering game at third-placed Sunderland on Saturday to kick-off one of the biggest weeks in the club’s history, with a famous night under the lights at Kenilworth Road in prospect on Tuesday (in the FA Cup replay against Sheffield Wednesday), and the following day’s Council Development Control committee meeting for our new stadium at Power Court.
"It’s a great time to be a Hatter, so business goes on as usual."