Quique Sanchez Flores rules himself out of vacant Stoke job

Martin O'Neill now looks unlikely to become the new Stoke boss.                     Image Tim Goode

MARTIN O'NEILL has been re-installed as the bookies' favourite to land the Stoke City job after Quique Sanchez Flores revealed he is staying at Espanyol.

The Potters sacked Mark Hughes last Saturday with the club in the Premier League relegation zone.

The Hornets made the ill-advised decision to replace the former Spain defender with Walter Mazzarri despite Sanchez Flores keeping the Vicarage Road club in the Premier League at the first time of asking and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals.

Russell said: "It's been a bit hard with a manager gone who is really well-respected in the club".

He said: "I'm not going to talk about me on such an important day for Espanyol". I am well and quite happy with my situation.

"I do not talk about me. I am the coach and will be".

Earlier in the week, it was reported that Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill was a potential candidate for the vacant Stoke position and was personally keen on taking the job.

But the 65-year-old said after the Republic lost their World Cup qualifying play-off the following month that he would need to have "a real think" about his future, and still nothing has been signed.

It now looks inevitable that Eddie Niedzwiecki will take charge of the team at Old Trafford for the Monday Night Football clash against Manchester United. The reality is that clubs are interested in players and coaches. It was a matter of picking them up on Monday a little bit - there are players who were hurting, and rightly so. "They will be a lucky manager".

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