O'Neill said: "If Gareth stays with us for the foreseeable future, I will be really delighted. It will be a really big bonus for us. If Gareth is here this time next week, I will be relieved.
"I would have said only a few weeks ago that I was resigned to the fact Gareth would no longer be here - around about the time we played Reading in pre-season and when he didn't come with us to Malaga because I assumed everything would be done that week.
"But as for the future now, let's go one step at a time. That is what I would be looking at.
"I wouldn't want to be rushing anyone into making decisions or asking anyone to do something that no-one is really comfortable with."
The former Celtic boss added: "Gareth will have better days for us than at Stoke with a bit of luck but Saturday might just have been a culmination of four games in quick succession, the lack of any steady pre-season build-up, and all of those things.
"I couldn't have faulted him in any of the matches he had played for us before that one and it was just maybe everything getting to him at the one time - including maybe that sharpness and fitness that he is still striving for.
"Is Gareth in the right frame of mind? I think he answered that with his performances in the games he has played for us."