Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

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O'Neill due back in Dublin as Stoke expected to name Flores as new boss

Martin O'Neill has confirmed he will be back in Dublin tonight, leading to increased speculation that Quique Sanchez Flores is to accept the job as Stoke City manager today.

O'Neill, along with assistant manager Roy Keane, will be in attendance at the SSE Airtricity/Soccer Writers Association of Ireland annual awards. He hadn't been expected to be available until this morning.

Flores is expected to give Stoke a yes or no answer to their offer today with reports surfacing this morning that he will take the job to return to the Premier League from his current post with Espanyol.

O'Neill had met with Stoke officials earlier this week to discuss the role but now seems set to continue as Republic of Ireland manager after the club made the Spaniard their number one target.

Stoke hinted at a short term arrangement until the end of the season but O'Neill is thought to have wanted a longer contract. Job-sharing with his current role was not an option.

Ulsterman O'Neill has already agreed a new two-year deal with FAI chiefs but has yet to sign a contract and after the crushing World Cup play-off defeat to Denmark, said he would take him to consider his future. The FAI are confident that O'Neill will honour the verbal agreement he made.

Flores has previously managed in the Premier League with Watford, where he spent one season, securing a mid-table finish and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.

Stoke sacked manager Mark Hughes after Saturday's FA Cup exit at the hands of Coventry and are currently sitting 18th in the Premier League table.

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