Having parted company with manager Allan Johnston, and his assistant Sandy Clark, Dunfermline Athletic now need to find themselves a new manager.
Prior to his sacking, Johnston was the sixth longest serving manager in the SPFL having taken up the reins of the club in 2015. He won the League One title for the Fifers in his first season in charge before recording fifth and fourth placed finishes in the Championship. He has left the Pars languishing in seventh place this season.
There are certainly no shortage of options to take Johnston’s position at the fan-owned club. First team coach Stevie Crawford has been placed in charge of the side for this weekend’s trip to Dundee United and depending on the result at Tannadice he may get the opportunity to take charge on a permanent basis. However, the Pars would surely be better employing somebody with more managerial experience than Crawford whose most recent – and only – spell as a manager came a decade ago at East Fife.
The vast majority of the Pars faithful seem to regard Alloa boss Jim Goodwin as the ideal candidate to succeed Johnston.
Goodwin led the Wasps to promotion to the Championship via the League One promotion playoffs last season. This season in the Championship Alloa have been well organised and capable of causing anyone problems despite their status as the only part-time club in the division.
Prising the 37 year old away from the Indodrill Stadium may not be an easy task as evidenced by the fact he has already turned down an opportunity at Premiership side St Mirren.
The Buddies, where the Irishman spent five-years as a player, gained permission to talk with him after Jack Ross left for Sunderland but Goodwin knocked them back out of loyalty to Alloa.
Another name on the lips of Pars supporters is that of former player Stewart Petrie, who was a real fan favourite during his time at the club.
Petrie led Montrose to the League Two title last season and has continued to build on that success this season. The Gable Endies are just outside the promotion playoff positions in League One and have a double digit gap on the relegation playoff position.
However, fans’ desire to see Petrie on the bench at East End Park could be seen as heart ruling head. The fact he has never managed in the Championship before raises doubts about his suitability for the post.
Darren Young is another possible replacement for Johnston at East End Park.
Currently at the helm of League One side East Fife the 40-year-old had a five-year spell as a player with the club between 2003-2008.
He took his first steps in management with Albion Rovers and led them to a League Two title during a three-year stint in charge. He moved on to his current employers ahead of the 2017/18 season and took them to a sixth placed finish. Young currently has the Methil club on course to qualify for the playoffs and was recognised with the Manager of the Month award back in September.
As with Petrie fans could be letting his time at the club skew their view. However, Young is certainly a manager to watch out for, whether he should be considered the Chosen One for the Pars, and seems unlikely to spend too long at East Fife based on current performances.
Despite his past with the club as a player the Dunfermline hierarchy should approach a potential appointment of Jackie McNamara with extreme caution.
Scottish bookmaker McBookie surprisingly installed the former defender as fifth favourite for the job when they first released odds on who the next manager of Dunfermline could be. After a promising start in management with Partick Thistle McNamara joined Dundee United and took them to Scottish Cup and League Cup finals.
The joint sale of stars Gary Mackay-Steven and Stuart Armstrong in January 2015 saw the wheels begin to come off for McNamara at the Arabs. He kept himself in the job until September that same year before being relieved of his duties. He wasted little time in getting back in to management and took charge of York City that November. The former Scotland international was unable to prevent City’s relegation from League Two to the National League but the club’s directors kept him on board nevertheless. Life in the National League did not get off to a great start and McNamara was consequently removed from his position in October 2016.
McNamara has not managed since and should be one of the last options to be considered.