While Ray McKinnon’s departure as Dundee United manager is still to be officially confirmed, the club will look to have a new man in charge sooner rather than later.
Who that will be is as yet unknown with former Tangerines striker Jim McIntyre and John Hughes the early front runners.
What is certain is that whoever does take over in the Tannadice hot-seat, he has some pressing concerns waiting for him in his in-tray.
1 Rebuild the players’ confidence
After two successive defeats and losing their manager, spirits will be understandably low in the dressing-room. The new man has to quickly convince the squad they possess the quality to get back to the top of the league and should embrace their pre-season billing as title favourites.
2 Get the fans back onside
The barrage of boos that greeted the full-time whistle on Saturday was deafening with the home supporters leaving no-one in any doubt exactly what they thought of the result and performance. Most of that ire was directed at McKinnon but, with him gone, the club need the fans to get right back behind the team more than ever now.
3 Find a way to score more goals
United have only found the back of the net 10 times in 10 league games. Contrast that with table-topping St Mirren who have more than double that tally in the ‘goals for’ column. In Scott McDonald and James Keatings, the Tangerines have proven scorers in their ranks but they are certainly not the biggest and the service to them has to be tailored to their demands. Things were so bad in the defeat to Inverness on Saturday, centre-half Mark Durnan was pressed into service as a focal point centre-forward with half an hour of the game to go.
4 Return to winning ways
That may be stating the blooming obvious but United simply cannot allow this two-game blip to go on any longer. It is still relatively early in the season but the gap on St Mirren is already five points. Saturday’s game for the Tangerines at Dumbarton is undoubtedly a must-win fixture and will also probably give us a better idea if this current squad possess the fighting spirit needed to turn things around.
5 Drum into the players exactly what is at stake for the club this season
Failure to win promotion is really not an option for Tangerines. Worryingly, it appears that has not yet sunk in for the players. Skipper Willo Flood candidly confessed after the Inverness defeat that he felt some of his team-mates thought because they were at Dundee United they would dominate games and it was going to be easy. History has taught us that life in the Championship is anything but a stroll in the park and it is a lesson which needs to be taken on board and fast.