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Stoke City are expected to make a fresh approach for Ireland boss Martin O'Neill after Espanyol's Quique Sanchez Flores turned down a move to the Premier League strugglers.
Both men were the front-runners to fill the position that has been vacant since Mark Hughes was sacked after the FA third round defeat to League Two side Coventry City last Saturday.
According to reports in the Daily Telegraph, the Potteries club have now hardened their interest in O'Neill even though it was reported that the 65-year-old told them that he was not interested in the vacancy.
O'Neill has yet to sign a new two-year deal on the table that would take him up to the 2020 Euros, and Stoke believe that they have the financial clout to tempt O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane to the bet365 Stadium.
Stoke are desperate to get a manager in place that will ensure their nine-year stay in the Premier League continues. The Potters have not won in four games and have slipped into the relegation places. O'Neill has never been relegated as a manager.
Club officials had met Sanchez Flores in Barcelona during the week and were confident they could appoint him over the weekend.
But the former Watford, Valencia and Atletico Madrid head coach told a press conference ahead of Espanyol's La Liga game with Athletic Bilbao on Sunday: “Here I have all I need. I am the coach and will be.
"I belong to Espanyol. I have a contract and I am honest with the club. I am absolutely happy with my situation, I do not have to explain anything else.
"There is nothing to tell. Football brings up these kind of situations where clubs ask. Here at Espanyol it is difficult to move someone. We feel happy. We are in a happy place and we don't want to break that up."
Everton face Tottenham in the Premier League at Wembley on Saturday, 13 January, live on BT Sport 1 on the eir Sport pack [kick off 5.30pm].
Image: Getty Images/ Srdjan Stevanovic
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