Michael O'Neill looks set to take over at Stoke City


Championship strugglers Stoke City have made an official approach for Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill with a view to him succeeding the recently sacked Nathan Jones.

Stoke will want O'Neill to focus on driving them up the Championship table, with the Potters now in deep trouble.

Northern Ireland are now ranked 34th and have two games remaining in their Euro 2020 qualification campaign - at home to the Netherlands on November 16 and away to Germany three days later.

In accordance to studies, Stoke will present O'Neill a four-12 months deal and double his £800,000 salary.

They have won just two of their last 15 games in the league leaving them rooted to the bottom of the table and already six points from safety.

He will, however, take a over a squad with the joint second worst attacking record and joint second worst defensive record in the league.

The former Shamrock Rovers boss has been in charge of Northern Ireland for eight years.

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Speaking on Wednesday, O'Neill was asked about Stoke's interest.

The former Newcastle midfielder has been interested in a return to club management for some time and was linked with the Sunderland job in 2017 before turning down an approach from Scotland past year.

"It is not a distraction for me".

After that, they were denied a World Cup finals spot only by a highly contentious play-off defeat to Switzerland and are now highly likely to feature in the Euro 2020 play-offs in March.

Many fans described O'Neill as the best manager Northern Ireland had ever had and he will be missed by those on the terraces.

Under O'Neill, the team have risen from being ranked 129th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings back in September 2012, to 20th in the world five years later.