THE comparison was an obvious one. And James Fowler, the director of football operations at Kilmarnock, didn’t flinch from it. “It was a bit like Alex Ferguson leaving Manchester United,” he said. “You want the job after the guy who got the job after him.”

When it came to the onerous task of replacing Steve Clarke as Kilmarnock manager last summer, Alex Dyer was perhaps wise enough not to want any part of it.

Instead the Rugby Park side’s David Moyes figure was Angelo Alessio, the Italian whose time at the club brought to a peremptory end on Tuesday just six months after his arrival - having clearly been adjudged to have failed to measure up to the standards set by Clarke.

But as the CVs piled in - perhaps this finally is Neil Warnock’s time for a Scottish sojourn, staying at his holiday home in Argyll – the big question now is whether Dyer likes the idea of being their Louis van Gaal.

That Old Trafford appointment didn’t end particularly well either, you will recall, so perhaps it was little wonder the Scotland coach was continuing to keep his cards close to his chest about the possibility of accepting the job on a basis beyond the three matches he is currently tasked with.

For now at least, though, this former manager of Welling United and Whitehawk (where he never presided over a single match) remains favourite to be Alessio’s permanent successor, even if Livi manager Gary Holt and even Warnock aren’t far behind.

Having spoken to Clarke as soon as the news broke on Tuesday, this pair of pals agreed simply that the first priority was getting the club back to the first principles which served them so well last season.

It may seem harsh to dispense with a manager who had guided Kilmarnock to fifth in the table, but Clarke and owner Billy Bowie have lifted this side’s horizons in recent times and they clearly expect better than one win in their last eight matches.

“I spoke to him [Clarke] on Tuesday and I’ll be speaking to him again,” said Dyer. “We didn’t really speak about the job, we just spoke about getting things back to where they were, keeping it simple, stuff that a good manager tells you.

“It was a nice conversation. I’ll keep in touch with him.”

Dyer laughs off the reality that - should he accept this job on a permanent basis - Killie will have opted for a former Welling United manager instead of a man who has Juventus, Italy and Chelsea on his CV. He points out that he actually has a perfect record from his one match in charge, in the last-day victory against Rangers last season when Clarke was suspended.

“My last match was Rangers here last season!” said the 54-year-old. “Steve was still around but he was suspended so I did the team talk.

“I have been around it a long time,” he added. “This will not be the first time I have stood on the sidelines. I am looking forward to saying my bit before the game and at half time and just trying to get the boys back to a place where they can go out and express themselves. It was nice to be in charge in training this week.

“We set good standards around the club. We just wanted to maintain that. It was always going to be difficult for someone to come in and put their own ideas in and change little bits and bobs. But they’re hard-working lads, they’re respectful, they want to work hard every day and they demand that from us as staff.”

While Dyer insists he is no keener to take the job now than he was last summer, Fowler doesn’t want to put any additional pressure on him either. “I’ve been in Alex’s position before – taking over a club,” said the one-time Sunderland caretaker. “Alex has the best interests of the club at heart.

“He probably won’t know [if he wants it] until he’s actually tasted it. But we don’t want to put Alex in a position where he feels it’s a trial. We’ve asked him to do the job in the short-term and we’ll deal with that closer to January.”