Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

O'Neill and Keane in line to make Stoke move

O'Neill and Keane in line to make Stoke move

O'Neill - who held talks with Stoke over the vacant manager's position - is flying to Dublin along with his backroom team for tonight's Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland awards as it now appears he is out of the running.

"It's like being engaged - you shouldn't be going out with other people".

Given the requirement to regain stability at the Bet365 Stadium following a disastrous 2017, sources claim Stoke would want O'Neill on an undivided basis.

John Fallon adds that O'Neill's current Ireland assistant Keane would be likely to join him in Staffordshire.

Although the FAI said yesterday that they had not received any approach from Stoke, the fact O'Neill is officially out of contract meant neither the club nor the Derryman were obliged to notify the association.

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The former Leicester, Aston Villa and Sunderland manager verbally agreed a two-year contract extension with the FAI before their World Cup play-off defeat by Denmark in November, but has yet to sign it.

Other loyal members of his coaching staff, including Steve Guppy, Steve Walford, and goalkeeping coach Seamus McDonagh, are also set to follow O'Neill from the Ireland camp into the new adventure.

If O'Neill had taken the job, he would have been free to walk away without the FAI reeceiving any compensation.

Keane and O'Neill have worked together with the Republic of Ireland since 2013, guiding the Boys in Green to the 2016 European Championships.

Still, the contract remained unsigned and there was a degree of pantomime to the recent assertion by FAI treasurer Eddie Murray that they expected O'Neill to rubberstamp the deal.

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