STEVEN PRESSLEY is poised to be confirmed as the new manager of Dundee United within the next 48 hours, with chairman Stephen Thompson stating yesterday he intends to appoint a successor to Peter Houston before Saturday's William Hill Scottish Cup tie with Rangers at Tannadice.
United play Motherwell in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League this evening with Paul Hegarty and Stevie Campbell in command, but it is believed that all that remains to be resolved between United and Falkirk is compensation, with the first division club thought to be seeking in the region of £70,000 to allow their manager to leave. Thompson attended the Scottish Premier League's monthly meeting at Hampden yesterday before driving back to Dundee mid-afternoon to continue talks.
Although an agreement had been reached earlier this month for Houston to remain in charge until his deal expired at the end of the season, it was announced yesterday that a decision had been taken for him to leave the role he has held for three years.
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Billy Dodds, the former United striker and coach, had been interviewed for the post, while Jackie McNamara and Derek McInnes have also been linked with the job. However, Pressley, who shares an agent – John Colquhoun – with Houston and Craig Levein, the former United manager, will leave Falkirk to take over at Tannadice later this week.
"It's something I've been thinking about for a few days," Thompson said about the decision for Houston to stand down. "As a board we want to move on from the position we've been in. I'm not going to go into any detail because it would be unfair on Peter. We wish him all the best for the future, he has done a great job with us. It was just time for both parties to move on."
It is an open secret that tensions have existed between Thompson and Houston, and the latter turned down a new contract which involved a drop in wages. Houston was at pains to insist that the salary did not influence his decision, rather the fact that United's focus will be in bringing through youth players and cutting the wage bill, which Thompson in turn disputed.
"It's not been the best few weeks but the decision has been made," Thompson said. "I'm going to conduct as much as I can in private. I'm not going to confirm who I have spoken to. I would prefer to have someone in place before this weekend. We've been working on it quietly behind the scenes. We've had time to look at what we'd like, which we've been doing for the last 10 to 12 days."