Craig Brewster will spend this evening holed up in a Lancashire hotel as Crawley Town, for whom he is first-team coach, prepare for a League One fixture at Preston tomorrow.
If he allows his mind to wander during a spare moment he may resolve to check up on the score of the match between two clubs with which he has history and two managers he knows a thing or two about.
Both Derek Adams, of Ross County, and Peter Houston, in charge of Dundee United, are shaped by their experience as assistant managers. Adams interrupted an otherwise linear rise with Ross County with a disastrous spell when he hitched his wagon to the train wreck that would be Colin Calderwood's time as manager of Hibernian.
Houston was, for a long time, the guy behind the guy. The United manager assisted Craig Levein at Tannadice and, before that, at Hearts and Leicester City. He does the same with the Scotland squad still yet, like Adams, has claimed his own territory as a manager.
"Some people are better as assistants, some are better as managers; some can perform both roles better than other people," says Brewster. So Houston must fall into the final category. Adams, on the other hand, surprised his former assistant at County when he opted for the junior position at Easter Road.
"I never saw Derek as a No.2. He's a No.1 – end of story," he says. "Derek is a dedicated character and he thinks deeply about the game. Definitely a person suited to the manager's role. He has tunnel vision. He knows what he wants and he is not going to be swayed from that. He has dedicated his life to football.
"He's smart. Look at the players he brings in. Last year, Inverness let Grant Munro go and Derek moved quickly to bring him in. When I was at Inverness, Grant was a fantastic captain, not extremely vocal but he led by example, performed well every week and was rarely injured.
"You saw the success last season with him and Scott Boyd at centre-back. That was the solid foundation for Derek to build on. They have stability and continuity and it shows."
When he talks about Houston, Brewster remembers the key game in the United manager's career: the 2010 Scottish Cup final. County, with Adams and Brewster at the helm, were defeated 3-0 at Hampden.
"Maybe Craig [Levein] would have done that, maybe not," says Brewster. "Since then he has put together a really good squad during difficult times financially."
However, soon we are in darker territory. Craig Conway was the author of the Scottish Cup win, a player signed by Brewster during a turbulent 10 months in charge of the club for which he once scored the goal that won the same fixture.
He talks about Conway, Noel Hunt ("I signed him for £50,000 and they sold him for £650,000"), Lee Wilkie and Christian Kalvenes, players he selected that Levein would build his first United team around, righting a tailspin that had lasted for a generation.
"I picked a very bad time to go to Dundee United," says Brewster. "That job kind of killed me. It was a hard 10 months, but if I hadn't made some of those decisions I don't think they would have done so well, so quickly.
"I went there six months after they had to beat us [Inverness] with a penalty in the last game of the season to stay in the SPL. You don't go from the bottom of the league to the top in one year. I was the one who had to deal with it all and I think I did well. I just didn't get the wins.
"That was a difficult time for Dundee United. Someone had to make those changes. They were in a better position when I left than when I arrived."
At Crawley, Brewster is back in the coaching role for which he was recruited in the summer of 2011. At the end of last season he took over the big job when Steve Evans left in April, with Crawley in the home straight of a fierce promotion race in League Two.
"I took over with six games to go. The manager had gone, with his assistant. We were away at Barnet and there was me, the physio and the kit man," says Brewster.
"We won 2-1, we were a step nearer [to promotion] with five games to go. Then Steve Coppell came in [as director of football]. Just a great football man, we hit it off really well.
"We worked really well together. We got over the line. We had to win on the last day away to Accrington Stanley and we did."
Now working under a new manager, Richie Barker, Brewster sounds content both personally and professionally – he will become a father for the first time in December. Eventually, however, he will try to prove that he belongs to the tribe of Adams and Houston.
"In this game the manager gets all the pressure, and the pressure is getting bigger and bigger all the time," he says. "In a couple of years, maybe I'll want to give it another crack."
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