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Jack Ross reveals ‘open’ Tony Asghar talks as Dundee United boss insists he’ll be his own man

'Collaborative': Asghar, left, and Ross
'Collaborative': Asghar, left, and Ross

Jack Ross insists he will be ‘a decision-maker’ at Dundee United following ‘open conversations’ with sporting director Tony Asghar.

The Tannadice outfit have a well-established management structure, with Asghar entrusted with the day-to-day running of United by owner Mark Ogren.

With a Championship title, a ninth-placed top-flight finish and European qualification in the last three campaigns, it has been a fruitful system — notwithstanding the turnaround in the dugout.

And while Ross will not seek to tear up that playbook, the former Hibernian and Sunderland boss sought assurances that he will be given rein to put his stamp on the team — rather than just coach the players.

Ross, left, and Asghar addressed the media together on Wednesday

“From the outside, people will wonder how I’ll fit in here,” acknowledged Ross. “That was part of the open conversations I had with Tony in the beginning.

“I am quite strong-willed and I have taken on responsibility at clubs. There are similarities with when I first went in at Hibs. They had a very rigid structure in the first instance.

“I’m not saying we changed it — but there is give-and-take in both respects.

“In the conversations I had with Tony, I made it clear I want to lead. I want to be a decision-maker because I don’t see myself as someone who just coaches the players.

“I think Tony wanted that as well, to alleviate some of the load on him.”

Ross added: “It’s not taking the club in a different direction, it’s strengthening what it has at its disposal.”

Recruitment balance

The 48-year-old made it clear his influence will extend to recruitment.

While Asghar is the man charged with getting deals over the line, Ross is adamant the summer business will be a collaborative process — and one that requires him to be happy with any potential arrivals.

Delight: Ross has succeeded Tam Courts

Courier Sport revealed on Tuesday that Ross is targeting Wigan and Ireland midfielder Jamie McGrath, a player he previously attempted to sign with Hibs.

“Recruitment was important to me, in terms of the selection and pursuit of players,” added Ross. “They need to be players you fully want at the club. 

“I have worked in structures before where I am more than comfortable having that dialogue about how we get to that decision.

“It shouldn’t just be a case of me thinking they are a good player — although I do think the manager is the one who should believe they are the right person to bring to the club. 

“I have the comfort of knowing that will be the situation here.”

Liam Fox factor

Ross, meanwhile, confirmed that he would not be appointing any of his own coaching staff at United.

Liam Fox, who he worked alongside at Hearts, will be his right-hand man. Adam Asghar and goalkeeping coach Craig Hinchliffe will make up the backroom team.

Dundee United assistant boss Liam Fox

“I will be working with the staff who are here,” he confirmed.

“Liam Fox and I have a long-standing personal and professional relationship. He came to Hearts to work with me and we have remained friends.

“I tried to take him to Hibs at the start of last season so that is hugely helpful. We already have that relationship.

“He showed last season what a good coach he is.”

Jack Ross pinpoints one key area for Dundee United improvement as new Tannadice boss acknowledges ‘playing catch-up’

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