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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 15 December, 2018

Stoke make contact with O'Neill about returning to club management - reports

The Premier League strugglers are in the hunt for a new manager and the Ireland boss is among the favourites.

O'Neill has been in charge of Ireland since November 2013.
O'Neill has been in charge of Ireland since November 2013.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

IRELAND MANAGER MARTIN O’Neill is believed to be among the frontrunners for the vacant job at Stoke City.

The Potters sacked Welshman Mark Hughes just hours after their FA Cup third round defeat to League Two side Coventry City over the weekend.

Former Manchester United and Chelsea forward Hughes had been in charge for four-and-a-half years, but a poor run of form this season has left them in the Premier League relegation zone.

O’Neill has been mentioned as a possible replacement along with the likes of ex-West Ham boss Slaven Bilic, Spaniard Quique Sanchez Flores and Derby County’s Gary Rowett.

However, Rowett agreed a new deal with the Rams yesterday to end any uncertainty around his future.

The Telegraph are reporting that Stoke have made contact with O’Neill about a possible return to England’s top flight. The 65-year-old last managed in the Premier League with Sunderland in 2013.

He verbally agreed a two-year contract extension with the FAI back in October, but as of yet neither party has confirmed that the deal has actually been signed.

Having missed out on this summer’s World Cup finals after a play-off defeat to Denmark, Ireland must make do with a number of friendlies until the new Uefa Nations League begins in September.

The group stage draw for that takes place on 24 January.

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