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Euro 2020 qualifiers: Leaving NI before end of campaign 'never an option' – Michael O'Neill

Media playback is not supported on this device BBC coverageHow to follow:Listen on BBC Radio Ulster and the BBC Sport website; Text commentary on BBC Sport website; Highlights on BBC One NI at 22:20 GMTMichael O'Neill has said he told Stoke City at the outset of their talks that he would not consider leaving Northern Ireland immediately.The NI boss took over at Stoke last week but will remain in his international role until the end of their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.NI are at home to the Netherlands on Saturday before their last Group C game away to Germany three days later. "Leaving before these two games was not an option," O'Neill explained."That would not have been the right thing to do and I was clear with Stoke about that from the start."While taking the NI side for the Dutch and German games was always O'Neill's intention, he revealed it was the Irish FA that requested he remains in charge for any potential play-off matches in March.

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Hope for Acorns Children's Hospice in Walsall after fundraising

A cash-strapped children's hospice has said its future looks more hopeful after a £450,000 fundraising boost.Acorns in Walsall said board members were happy a £2m target to keep it open beyond March 2020 was now achievable.A decision to close it was put on hold in July and the appeal launched following pledges of additional NHS support from 2023/24 onwards."The community is responding in an amazing way," Acorns chief executive Toby Porter said."We are obviously hopeful, but we cannot and will not rest for one moment before we reach our £2m goal," he added.Latest news from the West MidlandsCelebrities including Jasper Carrot, Dame Julie Walters and Noddy Holder in addition to the local community have supported the Save Acorns Black Country Hospice Appeal, helping them to reach a quarter of the target needed in four months.The charity said that while there was still "a long way to go", the hospice was now in a position to book stays for families beyond March 2020.About 200 children with life-limiting conditions were cared for at the centre in 2018.Acorns also operates hospices in Birmingham and Worcester.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

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Schools and roads shut as floodwaters rise

Dozens of schools are closed with river levels are still rising as floodwater continues to cause problems in the West Midlands.Flood warnings remain in place across the region, following heavy rainfall on Thursday.More than 40 schools are shut in Worcestershire and the River Avon is breaking its banks in Warwickshire with its peak expected on Friday evening.Friday will be drier and rail services have mostly returned to normal.Services are not running between Shrewsbury and Welshpool and between Moreton-in-Marsh and Worcester Shrub Hill due to flooding.Hereford and Worcester's fire and rescue service said it has helped 43 vehicles in flood, ten of the vehicles got stuck overnight.It said in 24 hours it has rescued 97 people and one dog, which was in a vehicle which got stuck in shallow water on Suckley Road in Knightwick at 14:28 yesterday.And in Croxton, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to rescue a child and their carer from a vehicle stuck in flood water at 08:56 GMT. Schools in Pershore, Evesham, Malvern and Upton in Worcestershire are all closed due to flooding.Chris Bainger, from the Environment Agency, said: "Worcestershire is probably the most affected, and parts of Herefordshire."Importantly for us at the moment is the area of Evesham, around there because it is going to be very, very close to affected properties." The River Avon is expected to peak at Evesham later, at its highest levels since 2012, while the river Teme in Tenbury peaked shortly after midnight.Angie Crump, who runs Smart Exchange in Pershore, said water was covering Pershore Bridge as she drove in from her home in Evesham.She said she was the worst she had seen the area for a "long time". "When I left the shop at 17:00 BST last night, I would say the water was about a metre under the arches, today it is right over the top," she said.The bridge has since been closed to traffic.The Environment Agency is predicting the River Avon in Stratford-upon Avon, Warwickshire is to peak at 19:00 GMT, predicting levels of 1.9m (6ft), nearly 1m (3ft) above normal river levels.Flood barriers were being put up in the town on Friday morning.Karen Smith, who was walking her dog at the Stratford Recreation Ground, said: "The water has broken the banks and it has come much farther across the fields than I have seen it in years."Three schools in the county have also been closed due to the weather, with roads also affected. Matt Lawrence from the Environment Agency, added: "There's still a lot of water about and we are expecting river levels to rise as that makes its way through the system."Latest updates on flooding in the West MidlandsElsewhere, in Shropshire, Frankwell Car Park has been closed with flood barriers in place, with three county schools also closed.Heavy rain has flooded rail lines between Shrewsbury and Welshpool causing disruption. In Hereford, the River Wye is also set to peak later, with the county council reporting some problems with school bus services.Around Birmingham one warning remains in place for the River Cole, but other stretches of the Cole, Blythe and Tame rivers around the city were downgraded to flood alerts.Problems remained on the roads around the Black Country, with Wigmore Lane in West Bromwich, flooded.Five flood warnings also remain in place for Staffordshire, including for the Bourne Brook at Hints and Drayton Manor Park.Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, on Twitter, and sign up for local news updates direct to your phone.

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