THE SFA are exploring the idea of making Darren Fletcher part of their new Scotland management team – but could face competition from Manchester United for his services.

A meeting of the SFA board on Tuesday mandated chief executive Ian Maxwell to take a lead role in doing due diligence on prospective candidates, as well as overseeing the interview process before a decision is made on Alex McLeish’s successor, either on a permanent or interim basis.

While in-house candidates such as Scot Gemmill and Malky Mackay could come into contention for an interim role to see out the crucial June double header with Cyprus and Belgium, there is no consensus as yet over the merits of a short-term appointment. The situation is complicated slightly by the fact the fixtures co-incide almost perfectly with the SFA AGM, during which Rod Petrie will replace Alan McRae as president.

As for the search for a new permanent manager, the previously-overlooked name of Steve Clarke is known to have the support of board members, while the likes of David Moyes and Derek McInnes have been discussed. But there is also a growing feeling that the time may be right to look to a newer, and more untested, generation of coaches, perhaps more in tune with the demands of the modern top-level footballer. Fostering excellent relations with players is viewed as a priority for the new boss, after the raft of withdrawals which marked the McLeish era.

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Fletcher – who was critical of some of the withdrawals against Kazakhstan - is thought to be perfect for that approach, along with the likes of current Belgium assistant Shaun Maloney. The Herald understands the SFA are monitoring his contract situation closely with Stoke.

The 35-year-old, who has played just 13 times this season for the mid-table Championship outfit, is approaching the end of his current two-year deal and has been keeping himself occupied with media work and doing his coaching badges.

The SFA are not the only prospective employer monitoring his situation, though; Manchester United are understood to want him to liaise with Mike Phelan and oversee the club’s recruitment arm.