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Flores favourite ahead of O'Neill for Stoke job and has 24 hours to accept - Guillem Balague

The Ireland manager is also in the running to replace Mark Hughes at the Potters.

O'Neill and Flores.
O'Neill and Flores.
Image: Press Association

ESPANYOL MANAGER QUIQUE Flores Sanchez reportedly has until tomorrow to accept Stoke City’s offer to take charge.

The Potters have been looking for Mark Hughes’ replacement since sacking him last week, with Ireland manager Martin O’Neill emerging as one of the favourites for the job over the past couple of days.

O’Neill, who has yet to officially sign his two-year contract extension with the FAI, is believed to have spoken to the Premier League club about a return to club management, and his assistant Roy Keane has also been linked with the move.

However, according to well-placed Spanish journalist Guillem Balague, Stoke have put former Watford boss Flores top of their wishlist after sending representatives to meet him in Barcelona, with the pursuit of O’Neill acting as a Plan B.

“He was approached by Stoke,” Balague said on Off The Ball tonight.

They went to Barcelona to speak to him and he was quite impressed by what they had to say. It’s a five-year deal and there’s a lot of money available.

“Espanyol played against Levante in the last-16 of the cup (Copa del Rey) tonight and Espanyol have come through (3-2 on aggregate).

“After the game, Quique Flores Sanchez was obviously asked but he said ‘Today’s not the day to talk about it. It’s a big day for Espanyol and I don’t want to talk about me’.

“He left it at that and now I reckon he’s got about 24 hours to answer the call from Stoke.”

Stoke, who are currently 18th in the Premier League, face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Monday night and they reportedly would like to have their new man in place by then.

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