Dundee managing director John Nelms admits he and the rest of the club’s board have taken a huge risk after deciding to sack boss Paul Hartley with just five games of the season remaining.
The Dark Blues parted company with their manager yesterday afternoon with Hartley, who had been in charge at Dens since February, 2014, paying the price for a seven-game losing streak that culminated in Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Hamilton.
That left Dundee sitting in the relegation play-off place with Nelms and his fellow directors deciding they had to act in a bid to preserve the club’s top-tier status.
The American insisted it was not a panic move however he has already compiled a short-list for who he would like to succeed Hartley as manager on an interim basis.
He would not be drawn on who was on it but former Falkirk and Coventry boss Steven Pressley is understood to be one of the names in the frame while the bookies have installed ex-Hibs manager Alan Stubbs as their favourite.
One thing which is certain is that Nelms is determined to have the new man in place within the next 48 hours to give him as much time as possible to prepare the team for their first post-split game at Motherwell on the 29th of this month.
When asked if sacking Hartley now would be perceived as a panic move, Nelms replied: “Nothing is a knee-jerk reaction.
“We look at things maybe differently from the way other people do.
“We look at it very cautiously and very conservatively.
“We have two weeks to go before we start our mini-season and that’s why we have made the change.”
However, the Dundee director admitted that having decided to relieve Hartley of his duties, there was a chance it could backfire.
He said: “Absolutely. There is a huge element of risk and that is something you take into account.
“It can go both ways. It can be the catalyst for us to go on a run or it could be the catalyst for us to fall apart.
“It weighs heavily on my mind when we make a decision like this.
“I have a short list – a very short list – of who I would like to come in as the interim manager.
“During that time we will be looking for the long-term manager. That doesn’t mean that interim manager will not be that person.
“We have very specific roles and goals for that interim manager.
“We have a longer list for someone we would want as the long-term manager.”
While Nelms would not comment on Pressley or any other possible candidate, he did rule out club captain James McPake, who is currently recuperating from another knee op, taking charge while Hartley’s former assistant Gerry McCabe will look after the team until an appointment is made.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Hartley insisted he would have secured Dundee’s Premiership safety.
He said: “I’m disappointed not to have been given the chance to see out the remainder of the season because I firmly believe we would have retained our SPFL Premiership status.”