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O'Neill still in frame for Stoke job but Flores heads club's wishlist

By Daniel McDonnell

Martin O'Neill's role as Republic of Ireland boss is out of the FAI's hands as they wait on Stoke City to reach a final decision on their choice of a new manager.

Stoke's board have split opinions on a preferred successor to Mark Hughes and they now appear ready to offer the job to Espanyol boss Quique Sánchez Flores if he chooses to accept it.

A delegation from the club met the former Watford supremo in Barcelona earlier this week. That would leave O'Neill in the position of back-up, although Stoke chairman Peter Coates is keen to bring the Derryman on board.

However, it's believed O'Neill would be seeking a long term deal, whereas initial discussions with Stoke hinted at a shorter term arrangement until the end of the season.

O'Neill would reject a contract offer of that length and a job share with the Republic is not an option. The FAI are confident that O'Neill would honour the verbal agreement he made.

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