Flores committed to Espanyol

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Espanyol manager Quique Sanchez Flores has ended rumors linking him to the vacant Stoke City job, announcing that he will still be Espanyol head coach come the end of the season.

Flores is understood to be the leading contender to succeed Mark Hughes after Stoke had to abandon their hopes of luring Gary Rowett away from Derby after he signed a new contract with the Championship promotion hopefuls.

The La Liga expert tweeted recently about the future of the former Watford manager, and clearly stated that the Spanish boss will not become the next Potters boss and that he will remain as Espanyol manager.

There had seemed to be real progress with the club ready to unveil him, however this morning it's emerged he's now turned down an offer.

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The 52-year-old told reporters: "Here I have all I need". What matters is that Gerard [Moreno] is here and I am here.

In any event, both Stoke's plans and O'Neill's contract situation with the FAI have been shrouded in confusion once again as Irish football's governing body await Stoke's next move.

"We like how they treat us, what we generate in the stadium and that Espanyol will grow. We have won in LaLiga, progressed in the Copa del Rey - there are many reasons to be happy".

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill is now the bookmakers' favourite.