Stoke City have sounded out Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill over the club’s vacant manager’s job, sources close to the club have said.
Stoke are searching for a new manager following Mark Hughes’ sacking in the wake of their FA Cup exit at the hands of League Two Coventry City on Saturday.
Hughes was axed after four-and-a-half years in charge of Stoke following a dreadful run of form which has left the club in a survival fight this season.
Former Leicester and Sunderland boss O’Neill and Derby manager Gary Rowett were the leading contenders to replace Hughes with Stoke’s preference to bring in a British manager.
However, Rowett has been ruled out of the running after signing a new deal at Derby, clearing the way for O’Neill to become favourite for the role at Stoke.
Former West Ham United boss Slaven Bilic has also been linked with the job, but sources have told ESPN FC that the Croatian is not under consideration by the Stoke board.
Stoke are now hoping to talk to O’Neill about the vacancy to see if he would even consider taking the job on a short-term basis until the end of the season.
O’Neill has verbally agreed a two-year contract to extend his spell as Republic of Ireland manager, but he has yet to sign, it giving Stoke hope that he could be tempted back into club management.
Stoke are also considering other candidates as they want to get the right man to help them climb clear of trouble at the wrong end of the table and they hope to have a new man in charge for their next game at Manchester United on Monday.