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Who will be the next Dunfermline boss? 5 early contenders as the Pars begin search for Peter Grant’s successor

Dunfermline candidates
Dunfermline candidates

For the second time in less than six months, Dunfermline Athletic are searching for a new manager

Peter Grant’s ill-fated reign lasted just 156 days and he departs East End Park with the Pars rock-bottom of the Championship; the only side in the SPFL without a league win.

However, the vacancy on the Halbeath Road remains an attractive one.

Under new ownership, with a good squad by second tier standards and boasting ambitious plans for the future — there will be no shortage of interest in the role.

As Dunfermline embark on a ‘robust’ recruitment process, Courier Sport casts an eye over the early front-runners for the post.

John Robertson

Robertson is understood to be a name under consideration by Dunfermline chiefs.

The former Hearts, East Fife and Livingston boss is currently the sporting director of Inverness Caledonian Thistle, having stepped down from his position as boss for compassionate reasons last season.

Pedigree and positivity: Robertson

Nevertheless, Robertson has stopped short of ruling out a return to front-line management during recent radio appearances.

As well as a solid pedigree in SPFL coaching, there can be little doubt Robertson’s infectious personality and peerless man management skills would lift a Dunfermline squad visibly lacking in confidence.

Stewart Petrie

Petrie is the sentimental choice for many supporters. Ten years, 296 appearances and an enduring legendary status will do that.

However, his merits in management also stack up.

Petrie has taken Montrose from the bottom of League 2 in December 2016 to regular League 1 playoff contenders, despite possessing a fraction of the budget of their near rivals.

He initially cut his teeth in coaching at Broughty Ferry following a varied playing career which saw him turn out for the likes of Forfar, Ross County and Central Coast Mariners in Australia.

Petrie has a successful job away from football so any approach would need to be sufficiently attractive to tempt him away from a part-time operation which has, until now, suited him perfectly.

Mark Fotheringham

As revealed by Courier Sport on Monday morning, Fotheringham has emerged as an intriguing option.

Fotheringham, left, is close to Felix Magath following their time together at Fulham

The former Celtic, Dundee and Dundee United midfielder is fresh from a successful three-year stint as assistant boss with FC Ingolstadt, winning promotion to the 2.Bundesliga last term.

He and manager Tomas Oral left Die Schanzer during the summer after being unable to agree terms on a new contract.

The 38-year-old, who is fluent in German, has been on the coaching staffs of Karlsruhe and Fulham previously.

Fotheringham also boasts experience alongside Gary Bollan at Cowdenbeath, ensuring the realities of Scottish league football would come as no shock to the system.

Kevin Rutkiewicz

Rutkiewicz’ reputation as a fine burgeoning coach seems to increase with every passing month.

Rutkiewicz during his Pars days

Earning his stripes at the helm of League 2 Stirling Albion, Rutkiewicz’ Binos missed out on a promotion playoff place by just two points last season — still a fine effort from an unfancied outfit.

Stirling have built upon that progress this term and currently sit in second spot, six points adrift of the only side in the SPFL with an unbeaten league record, Kelty Hearts.

Rutkiewicz, who turned out for St Johnstone and Aberdeen as a player, was named League 2 manager of the month for September.

He remains a popular figure among the East End Park faithful after helping the club win promotion from the old Division One during the 2011/12 campaign.

Neil McCann

Former Dundee boss McCann has been out of work since leaving his role as caretaker manager of Inverness during the summer.

McCann celebrates with ex-Pars favourite Faissal El Bakhtaoui

Stepping in for John Robertson in February, McCann thrived with the Caley Jags and narrowly missed out on a promotion playoff place in the Championship — to Dunfermline.

He is also acutely aware of the lay of the land at East End Park, having been on the coaching staff of the Pars under Jim Jefferies (initially working for free following their descent into administration) and John Potter.

However, McCann is a popular pundit on radio and TV and it would likely take an inviting offer to bring him back to Fife.