Martin O'Neill turns down the chance to manage Stoke City

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They could now look at a short-term solution and make an appointment until the end of the season as the Potters battle to stay in the Premier League. They are third from bottom and travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on Monday night.

Citing his experience under O'Neill with Ireland as the main reason for appointing him is unsurprising.

The secret of the Stoke move is now an open one and Marca state Flores has confided the news to some of his closest friends at Espanyol.

However, speaking at a pre-match press conference ahead of his side's LaLiga clash w ith Athletic Bilbao, Sanchez Flores said he was happy to stay at Espanyol, where he signed a three-year deal in 2016. "I belong to Espanyol. I am the coach and will be".

"The facts are what matter and nothing else".

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"The reality is that clubs are interested in players and coaches".

Talk of O'Neill departing for Stoke was quietened once Flores's name entered the discussion.

While the FAI confirmed yesterday that had received no approach from Stoke about talking to O'Neill, the Premier League club were entitled to go directly to the Derryman without consulting Abbotstown as nothing was signed and sealed.

O'Neill, who failed to secure Ireland a place in the World Cup in Russian Federation after a play-off defeat by Denmark back in November, has delayed signing his new contract after he was stung by the level of criticism that followed that near miss.

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