Published: Sat, January 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Flores first choice for Stoke in search for new manager

Flores first choice for Stoke in search for new manager

O'Neill was an early favourite to succeed Mark Hughes at Stoke City but Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores is thought to be on the verge of accepting that job.

It is now a straight choice between Ireland's Martin O'Neill and Espanyol's to be the next manager, as the club held further discussions on Thursday.

Former Irish worldwide Kevin Kilbane gave his opinion about what may have a bearing on O'Neill's decision to move on.

The Irish Independent report that former Sunderland and Hoops manager O'Neill was set to meet with Stoke top brass last night.

Given the requirement to regain stability at the Bet365 Stadium following a disastrous 2017, sources claim Stoke would want O'Neill on an undivided basis.

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It's understood that O'Neill is interested by the prospect of a return to club management and, if discussions lead to a firm offer, it would be a permanent deal as opposed to a short-term job-sharing arrangement until the end of the club season.

O'Neill and Keane have worked together for Ireland since 2013 but did not manage to secure a spot at this summer's World Cup.

And the Derryman will be joined by his assistant Roy Keane and backroom staff Steve Guppy, Steve Walford and Seamus McDonagh. It appears that O'Neill, whilst having agreed a contract with the FAI was still open to offers from others.

O'Neill's decision in 2016 to delay by five months the signing of his new contract suggested the Derry man had a penchant for working to his pace but this latest prevarication always carried the threat of blowing up in the face of his employers.

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