Martin O'Neill And Roy Keane On Verge Of Irish Exit

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

Stoke want a new manager in place for Monday's Premier League clash against Manchester United.

EAMON DUNPHY reckons the Martin O'Neill saga is "embarrassing for the FAI" - with the Republic of Ireland boss looking set to stay on as manager of the national team.

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

Former Irish global Kevin Kilbane gave his opinion about what may have a bearing on O'Neill's decision to move on.

O'Neill has reportedly always been held in high regard by the bet365 stadium chiefs.

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While the FAI confirmed yesterday that had received no approach from Stoke about talking to O'Neill, the Premier League club were entitled to go directly to the Derryman without consulting Abbotstown as nothing was signed and sealed.

O'Neill has still not decided whether to accept their offer as he and his assistant Roy Keane are excited by the challenge of building a new, younger Ireland squad during their European Nations Cup campaign, which starts later this year.

It's understood that O'Neill is interested by the prospect of a return to club management and, if discussions lead to a firm offer, it would be a permanent deal as opposed to a short-term job-sharing arrangement until the end of the club season.

The Irish Independent does, however, speculate that, should the package at Stoke fail to find room for Keane, he will remain with the FAI and another of the Irish backroom staff - Steves Guppy, Walford or Seamus McDonagh - will join O'Neill.

Those comments were aired in the immediate aftermath of Ireland's hammering at the hands of Denmark in the November World Cup play-off.

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