Struggling Dundee United are looking for a new manager after Sunday’s departure of Liam Fox, following a run of six-successive defeats.
Here, PA news agency looks at some of the key questions which surround the cinch Premiership club and their future.
So how poor is United’s form?
Former assistant manager Fox took over in September following the departure of Jack Ross and lost his first game as permanent boss, going down 2-1 at home to St Johnstone. There was an immediate response but that soon fizzled out and the season became a struggle before the recent freefall culminating in a 4-0 defeat by Ross County in Dingwall. United have won just five league games and are bottom of the table, four points behind Kilmarnock having played a game less. With 12 fixtures remaining there is time to beat the drop but it will take a very quick fix.
Is supporters’ anger just about the manager?
United found themselves looking for their third manager of the season just days after American owner Mark Ogren insisted that there were no immediate plans for change. However, it was never just about Fox. Fans have been calling for the head of sporting director Tony Asghar, who has come in for a lot of criticism. An “Asghar Out’ banner was displayed before the club’s recent AGM and one of several complaints the fans have is that striker Tony Watt was allowed to join St Mirren on loan late in the transfer window without a replacement being brought in. All is not rosy in the United garden.
Who is in the running to succeed Fox?
Lots of familiar names quickly emerged as potential successors to Fox including Tam Courts, who left the club in the summer after a year in charge – leading them to fourth in the table – to take over at Budapest Honved, before departing the Hungarian club in October. If Ogren decides to keep the appointment in-house, he has veteran defender Charlie Mulgrew who has combined playing with a first-team coaching role since November. Former St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright brought the Scottish Cup to McDiarmid Park for the first time and has been previously linked with the Tannadice club. John Hughes is vastly experienced having managed Falkirk, Hibernian, Livingston, Hartlepool, Inverness, Raith Rovers, Ross County and Dunfermline. Craig Levein was United manager between 2006 and 2009 before he left to become manager of Scotland and Ogren may feel his experience is exactly what is required. Of course there could be left-field applicants, but the Tayside club will not be short of options.
What is their most immediate goal?
Whoever is in the technical area for the home game against Aberdeen on Saturday needs to stop the rot. The Dons are also looking for a new boss following the departure of Jim Goodwin, with Barry Robson in charge at the moment. Aberdeen have recent wins over Motherwell and Livingston split by a comprehensive – if not unexpected – defeat by Celtic. Whoever is in charge of United needs to come up with some sort of a game plan to get a much-needed victory.