John Nelms admits Paul Hartley’s short-term successor has five games to save Dundee’s season after the club reacted yesterday to growing relegation fears.
Hartley was sacked after just over three years in charge and Nelms, the Dens Park managing director, hopes to have an interim manager in place by tomorrow.
He remained tight-lipped about the identity of the candidates but confirmed those on his short-list are all “Scottish-based”, available now and know a lot about the Dundee players.
The first detail would seem to rule out early bookies’ favourites Alan Stubbs, who led Hibs to an historic Scottish Cup victory less than a year ago.
Nelms also confirmed the appointment would not be in-house. He has already informed current skipper Darren O’Dea and injured club captain James McPake they will not be needed as an interim managerial pairing.
“It won’t come from within the club, it will come from outwith the club,” Nelms said of the new appointment. Gerry McCabe, Hartley’s assistant, has agreed to take training until such time the new interim appointment is made.
“Hopefully there will be someone in place in the next 48 hours,” added Nelms. “That’s my goal. It does not mean it is going to happen, but we want it to happen sooner rather than later to give the new guy as much time as possible with the players.”
Nelms stressed that Dundee are on the look out for two solutions – one short-term and the other long-term. They could, he admitted, end up being the same person. But in the first instance Dundee will be looking for an interim manager who will be handed the challenge of saving the club’s season.
Dundee slipped into a relegation play-off place due to Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Hamilton Accies, their seventh defeat in a row. They have five games left, three of which are away from home.
“We need an interim manager to come in in the very short-term,” said Nelms. “We will have a long-term plan for a manager moving forward. It does not mean it cannot be the same person, but I have specific criteria for both. Those people are being contacted as we speak.
“We thought basically we have two weeks before our next match [v Motherwell]. It might be time enough to get organised and get through these next five matches.
“The guys on my shortlist know who the players are, they understand them and I think will do a good job in the short-term and, potentially, long-term. But my idea is we are going to have a short-term solution and, during that, we will be finding a longer-term solution."