Stoke City boss has this target despite coronavirus drama


Boss Michael O’Neill hopes to lead his players out at Reading despite testing positive for coronavirus.

And the Stoke manager has remained firmly hands on – albeit remotely – during training since the positive test.

O’Neill was forced into immediate isolation at his Cheshire flat after the results of his test came through shortly before a proposed friendly against Manchester United at their Carrington training ground.

But he has felt fine after reporting no symptoms and kept a close watch on training.

Chris Brunt is the latest high-profile name to be linked with Stoke City this summer.

The connections are obvious after serving City boss Michael O’Neill so royally with Northern Ireland.

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And it is barely four months since O’Neill tried to prise him out of West Bromwich Albion at the end of the January transfer window.

O’Neill clearly remains a big fan and Brunt would be free as he is running out of contract at West Brom.

But at 35, there will be those raising an eyebrow at his signing, even on a relatively short-term deal.

How Chris Brunt reacted to Stoke deal falling throughREAD

Stoke favourites to sign West Brom man READ

First-team coach Rory Delap has revealed: “He has watched a training session live on video from home and was on the phone to (assistant manager) Billy McKinlay straight afterwards.

“He’s sorted out the next day’s training – picking the teams for short-sided games and what have you – and has also been in touch with some of the lads too.

“With modern technology, you can be away, but still have your eyes on everybody.

“In fact, he can probably see more from watching on the video than he can stood on the touchline at ground level.”

Stoke are scheduled to resume their season at Reading on Saturday week and O’Neill hopes to be there.

“As I understand it,” said Delap, “he’s got to isolate on his own for a week, so if all goes well he will hopefully be back in the training ground some time next week and then be in charge of the team for the first game at Reading.”





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