Stoke make Quique Sánchez Flores their top target to fill manager’s job

• Former Watford manager has been in charge of Espanyol since 2016
• Stoke’s executives have held meeting with Flores in Barcelona

Quique Sánchez Flores is Stoke’s first choice to succeed Mark Hughes. It is understood a Stoke delegation met the Espanyol manager, who was in charge at Watford for the 2015-16 season, in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Stoke sacked Hughes last Saturday after the 2-1 FA Cup defeat at League Two Coventry, which followed a run of seven losses in 10 Premier League games. They were interested in Derby’s manager, Gary Rowett, until he signed a new contract on Tuesday. The Republic of Ireland manager, Martin O’Neill, remains under consideration.

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