Two names stand out from the rest of the candidates to lead Dundee United on a permanent basis.
The Tele revealed yesterday that caretaker boss Laurie Ellis is to be given the chance to show he’s the man to succeed Csaba Laszlo, who was sacked after Saturday’s 5-1 Tannadice drubbing by Ross County.
However, should the board choose to make an external appointment ex-United pair Robbie Neilson and Jim McIntyre would be top of their list.
The Tele understands expressions of interest in the post are already running well into double figures and that includes managers in employment.
While the Tannadice board will consider all serious applications, however, they are believed to be keen to give caretaker boss Laurie Ellis the opportunity to prove his worth.
This will be his second spell as caretaker boss. Last year he had two games in the hotseat after Ray McKinnon was sacked and led the team back to the top of the division via impressive victories over eventual champions St Mirren and away to Dumbarton.
At the time that prompted the board to urge him to apply for the job permanently but Ellis felt he lacked the experience to take on a club of United’s size.
A year on that view might have changed and, was he to succeed Csaba, he would be a popular appointment in the dressing-room.
The fact he’s a leading contender is further indication of how highly he is rated by his employers. While it was hoped Csaba would be the man to lead the team back to the Premiership, for some time now the former Raith Rovers stalwart has been viewed by many within Tannadice as a future boss.
That said he does face competition from others with more experience and both Neilson and McIntyre will be interested.
The pair could need convincing the Tangerines can succeed.
Although he’s been out of a job since ending a difficult spell in England with MK Dons in January, Neilson’s stock north of the border remains high.
As head coach of Hearts for two years from 2014, he guided the Tynecastle outfit to promotion from a Championship that included hot favourites Rangers and Edinburgh rivals Hibs.
On a tight budget, he then steered them to a top-six finish and Europa League qualification in their first season back in the Premiership.
McIntyre has considerable experience from his time in charge at Dunfermline, Queen of the South and Ross County, where he lifted the League Cup.
He’s been out of a job since being sacked by the Staggies in September last year.
While it’s known both are keen to get back in management, they’ll only return in the right circumstances.
In August, McIntyre turned down the offer to succeed Paul Hartley at Falkirk. He felt the budget there would not be sufficient to mount a promotion challenge.
Likewise, earlier in the summer the vacant post at St Mirren was there for the taking for Neilson.
After talks with the board, the 38-year-old decided their expectations were unrealistic and the job wasn’t for him.