Flores in the frame succeed Mark Hughes at Stoke

General view outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Stoke City and West Ham United at Bet365 Stadium

Martin O'Neill has been acting without a signed contract since Ireland's World Cup campaign ended in November and was free to hold talks with Stoke.

Flores has been at the RCDE stadium for one and a half seasons now, following his exit from Watford in 2016, and he has guided the Catalan based side to a Copa del Rey quarter final place, beating Levante on Thursday evening to progress.

Reports in English media claim talks have already begun between QSF and the Premier League side, with Spanish Football expert Guillem Balague saying the former Watford coach has until Friday to make a decision. At the time Troy Deeney described the decision as "crazy".

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After reports that O'Neill was on Stoke's radar - and interested in the position - Stoke-based BBC Radio journalist Matt Sandoz yesterday told RTÉ Sport that Sanchez Flores is the Premier League strugglers' preferred option.

Sanchez Flores is expected to fly to England this weekend and complete the formalities that will see his salary vastly increase even before performance-related bonuses, while Stoke have had a delegation in Barcelona for the last few days in order to convince him to take the post.

Stoke would need to pay a substantial release clause to obtain Flores but the cost is believed to be well within budget.

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The 65-year-old is highly thought of by Stoke chairman and owner Peter Coates but son John is now having a much bigger say in the running of the club.

Since the departure of Hughes and his assistant Mark Bowen, first-team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki has been in temporary charge at Stoke, taking training ahead of Monday's league clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

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