JIMMY CALDERWOOD said last night he would be happy to talk to Dundee about the managerial vacancy created at the club by the departure of Barry Smith.

The former Dunfermline Athletic, Aberdeen and Kilmarnock coach, who has been out of work since leaving Dutch side Go Ahead Eagles last May, has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Smith, who parted company with the Dens Park side yesterday lunchtime.

The 57-year-old, who has been linked with the position since doubt over Smith's future first arose at the turn of the year, told Herald Sport there had been no contact, but insisted that the job was an "attractive proposition" due to the club's history and fanbase. One option the club are considering is appointing an interim manager while advertising for a permanent appointment to take over from the summer.

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"I don't know anything," said Calderwood. "And I don't expect anything any more, but it is an attractive proposition for anybody because of the support and the history. I am missing it terribly, the last three years have been fighting fires to keep people in leagues and we have been successful at that. So you just want to get back into work but you need to be asked first."

Ray Farningham, Smith's assistant, has been told his job his safe and will take training for now along with goalkeeper coach Bobby Geddes. It is feasible, though, that the club will try to expedite an appointment prior to Sunday's game against Celtic, despite being 15 points adrift at the bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, with a William Hill Scottish Cup quarter final against their city rivals to look forward to.

Smith, a former Dens Park captain, had been manager at since assuming control of the administration-ravaged club in October 2010, but there was shock at this sacking just a matter of weeks after being publicly backed by the board.

"Six weeks ago it was a different scenario," said chief executive Scot Gardiner. "There was speculation back then but football changes very quickly. People can change their minds and things can happen. There's been a transfer window but the league position hasn't changed and we are where we are. There are five on the board of directors and they made a decision. I think there is a worry for any football club if you get marooned at the bottom of the league that you can see your crowds drop off.

"I've spoken to Ray and told him we want him to stay on in the long term," Gardiner added. "The new man coming in will be working with him. Ray may be taking the team on Sunday.

"There's another potential situation where we may find ourselves with an interim manager between now and the end of the season. And we will also be advertising for a full-time manager. We haven't given up hope of staying in the SPL and we could get to the Scottish Cup final. I've already been swamped with people interested in the job."