The former Tannadice player, assistant manager and caretaker boss – he presided over one match prior to the appointment of Craig Brewster in 2006 – retains plenty of admirers at the club.
He was interviewed last Wednesday and is on a shortlist which includes Falkirk manager Steven Pressley, Partick Thistle boss Jackie McNamara and former St Johnstone and ex-Bristol City manager Derek McInnes.
Although it was previously announced that Houston will step down at the end of his season when his contract expires, the club appear to have come to the opinion that such a position is untenable and could make a decision on their new boss as early as next week.
Dodds, who has been out of permanent day-to-day involvement in football since being made redundant from Tayside rivals Dundee when they went into administration, has been keeping his eye in with a spell coaching at Irn-Bru second division side East Fife.
l Dodds on Hooper – page 63