T HE football safari for an unemployed manager takes in games and training at exotic spots.
There is none more chic than the Tail of the Bank and Derek McInnes has been readjusting to life on the sidelines by attending his old club's matches at Cappielow.
McInnes, who was an outstanding player for Morton from 1988 to 1995, has taken his boys to matches recently but still hankers for a more direct involvement in the game. He has been invited to attend training sessions by four managers in the Barclays Premier League and plans to spend the next couple of months studying their methods.
"You learn day-to-day from your own situations but you also learn from visiting other managers and seeing how they are doing and how they cope with situations. It's difficult to do that when you're in a job because you're so wrapped up in what needs to be done. Taking a wee spell out is good because fresh ideas can reinvigorate you," said the 41-year-old who was sacked Bristol City last month.
The former St Johnstone manager is aware, though, that his visits to training grounds are no substitute to hands-on involvement at a club. "Talking to these people can be invaluable but I'd rather be talking to my own players and preparing my own team for a Saturday," said McInnes. "But at the minute I've got to use my time well. I've a few people I'm going to visit in the English Premier League. I'd rather not name them just now but there's a few managers who have been kind enough to pick up the phone and invite me along. Two are Scottish, two are not Scottish. I'm sure there's always something to learn."
The former Dundee United player was coy on the vacant managerial position at Dundee after the dismissal of Barry Smith this week. "Thirty-odd managers have lost their jobs in England this season out of 92 clubs. But in the SPL Barry has been the first casualty," he said. "There has not been the same intensity of pressure because Celtic were always going to win the league and Dundee had become a bit detached so nobody else is under any real pressure."
Asked if he was interested in the post, McInnes said: "I do not want to be linked with too many individual clubs. All I would say is there has been no approach from anybody and I am happy to meet a challenge head-on wherever it is, whether it is Scotland, England, abroad and whether it is a team at the top end of the table or a team at the bottom end of the table."
McInnes, who led St Johnstone to promotion and ensured safety last season in the npower Championship for Bristol City, said: 'I would like to think I would use my time wisely out of a job but I always recognise that what I do in between is to get ready for my next job. Wherever that is, I will be ready for it."
He added: "I do apply for jobs but I have not applied for that [Dundee] job. I just feel hopefully somebody recognises that you have made a good fist of it in management, as I feel I have. I feel as though I can improve any club I go into. I am in a career where there is going to be 50 to 100 applicants going for every job. There are too many managers out there, to be honest."
McInnes, who was speaking to promote ESPN's live coverage of Scottish football, is still "out there" but has enjoyed taking his sons to Cappielow. He awaits, though, the chance to revisit the dugout.