TOMMY WRIGHT, Stuart McCall and Ray McKinnon have emerged among the front runners to replace Jackie McNamara as Dundee United manager

United are due to meet with McNamara today to discuss the termination of his contract. These discussions will not involve either Simon Donnelly or Darren Jackson, McNamara’s two assistants.

McNamara was removed from his position as United manager by Stephen Thompson, the Tannadice chairman, within 10 minutes of the final whistle of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

United sources suggested last night that it was unlikely a new manager would be in place by the end of this week.

The loss to St Johnstone left Dundee United second-bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership after an abysmal run of five defeats in their last six league matches, and one win in nine in total.

Thompson will spend this week looking at a number of names, with Wright appearing to be an outstanding candidate. In his two seasons in charge of St Johnstone he has guided the Perth club to fourth and sixth in the top-flight, while also winning the 2014 Scottish Cup. Ironically, Wright also has a notable success rate against United.

United would face paying compensation to St Johnstone for the remainder of Wright’s contract, which has 18 months to run. Were they to go for McCall, a free agent, then obviously no compensation would be involved.

There has still been no official statement to come out of Tannadice, though one is expected today from the club. United are in action against Partick Thistle at Firhill on Saturday, and it could be that Simon Donnelly is asked to take the team.

Sean Dillon, the United captain, admitted that the team had failed their manager.

“We’re all in this it together, and we’ve got to keep fighting,” said Dillon. “We just need to keep doing what we think is right. Everyone will have their opinion about it all but, at the moment, it’s not happening for us.

“We’ve got to keep fighting, but obviously everything is being magnified at the club right now.

“The disappointing thing is, I don’t think we have learned recently as a team from our recent results. We are still giving away bad goals, and we are not taking our chances.”