ALAN Stubbs has emerged as the favourite to be appointed the next Dundee manager after Paul Hartley was sacked yesterday by the Dens Park club following a disappointing run of results.
Stubbs, who led Hibernian to their historic Scottish Cup victory last season, has been out of work since parting company with English Championship club Rotherham United in October.
The Englishman, who impressed during his two seasons at Easter Road despite being unable to lead the capital club back into the top flight of Scottish football, is keen to return to the dugout.
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Ex-Scotland midfielder Hartley took over at Dundee in 2014 after spending nearly three years at part-time Alloa and leading the Clackmannanshire club to back-to-back promotions.
He led the Dark Blues to the Championship title and promotion to the Premiership on the final day of the 2013/14 season.
Dundee secured a top six place in their first season back in the top flight then came eighth the next to comfortably avoided relegation.
However, this season they have struggled to cope with the loss of strikers Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart and their form has often been unconvincing.
They have lost their last seven games and occupy the play-off position after losing 2-0 to fellow strugglers Hamilton at home on Saturday.
In a statement, the club’s managing director John Nelms said: “Unfortunately, the business we are in, sometimes change is necessary to achieve the goals we have set. I want to thank Paul for his time with the club. I think somebody in the near future is going to get a good, hard-working manager.”
Hartley, 40, released a statement expressing hope that Dundee – whose next game is against Motherwell away on April 29 – would retain their Premiership status.
“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,” he said.
“I was confident we would have moved up the League table as there are some excellent players in the dressing-room, led by captain Darren O’Dea. However, I respect the decision made by the Dundee FC board and would like to wish everyone success in the final five games of the campaign.”
Hartley added: “I’m very proud of what I achieved at Dundee since I was appointed manager in February, 2014. We won promotion to the SPFL top flight and we finished in the top six. There is no doubt I’m leaving the club in a far stronger position now from when I first joined.“I’ve met a lot of good people over the years at Dens Park and leave with a lot of happy memories. I wish the club well in the future.”
Hartley is the fifth manager to leave or be sacked by a Premiership club this season: Robbie Neilson left Hearts to join MK Dons, Lee Clark departed Kilmarnock for Bury, Mark Warburton and Rangers parted company and Motherwell sacked Mark McGhee.