Martin O'Neill in talks with Stoke City

Martin O’Neill could be getting ready for a departure from the Ireland job even if Stoke City don’t offer him the reins

While it had been floated that O'Neill would take the job on a part-time basis until the end of the season with no competitive Irish games slated, this report states that the Stoke job is on a full-time basis.

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

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill had no comment for waiting media as he entered a banquet in Dublin on Friday night.

While the Stoke board are disposed to widening their search to include the likes of Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores, the team's position in the relegation zone means a swift appointment is desirable.

O'Neill was widely reported to have met with the Premier League outfit earlier this week to discuss the possibility of taking over from Mark Hughes as the club's manager.

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

Ireland may have only friendlies scheduled until the Uefa Nations Cup kicks off in September, yet the financial risk of losing their Premier League status means the new manager's focus can not be distracted by extra-curricular activities.

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Should Keane not leave then Steve Walford, Steve Guppy and Seamus McDonagh are in contention for roles.

Nevertheless, despite verbally agreeing a new contract, there has still been no official confirmation that O'Neill has extended his stay with the Boys in Green for the forthcoming Euro 2020 campaign, so the Football Association of Ireland may now be keen to quicken the negotiation process to avoid similar uncertainty surrounding the 65-year-old coach's status in the near future.

Still, it would be a surprise if the manager didn't keep Delaney informed of yesterday's developments.

"I can't think of any other Association that would allow their manager to stall in this way", Dunphy told News At One on RTÉ Radio 1.

RTE soccer pundit Eamon Dunphy said that the whole situation was "embarrassing" for the FAI and that he could not imagine the English FA, or any other Association, allowing a situation like that to continue.

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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