Flores snubs Stoke job to remain at Espanyol

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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.

Stoke is looking for a new manager after firing Mark Hughes last weekend, with the team in the Premier League's relegation zone.

Stoke City have been dealt a blow in their search for a new manager after Quique Sanchez Flores made a decision to remain at Espanyol.

Flores was coy on Thursday night when asked about a possible return to the Premier League after his Espanyol side reached the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey.

Sanchez Flores, who is under contract with La Liga side Espanyol until 2019 but has a release clause in his deal, had been Stoke's first choice to replace Hughes.

"It's a day for Espanyol, for the club, for the players, it's a day to celebrate for having qualified for the quarters".

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"I belong to Espanyol".

"I don't want to talk about me, but to enjoy these moments. I am the coach and will be".

The 52-year-old has been strongly linked with the Potters following the dismissal of Mark Hughes.

Stoke City remain keen on appointing Martin O'Neill as their new manager and are making a concerted attempt to persuade him to leave the Republic of Ireland are four years in global football.

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.