Dundee United have no plans to bring in director of football at the moment – Robbie Neilson

Dundee United head coach Robbie Neilson has revealed that the club expect to move to a director of football model but not at the moment.

At Tuesday’s press conference to unveil Robbie Neilson as the new head coach of the club, chairman Mike Martin confirmed that the club was looking at appointing a director of football.

The last director of football at Tannadice was current Hearts manager Craig Levein who fulfilled the director of football role at Hearts when Robbie Neilson was head coach before his move to MK Dons.

Neilson’s successful time within such a setup will doubtless help Dundee United as they look to fill the role, however Neilson also takes a pragmatic view of the priorities for Dundee United at the moment.

“It is something I would be very comfortable with,” he told the media at Thursday’s pre-match press conference.

“I think financially it can be difficult to do because obviously you have got another wage to come in when if you ask the fans ‘would you rather have a director of football or would you rather have a striker that scores 25 goals?’ I know what the fans would want, and I know what probably I would want as well to be honest with you at this moment in time.”

The new United boss wants to build the club back up and whilst he understands the short term priorities he also looks towards the long term.

“As the club progresses and hopefully the finances start to get better then hopefully we can afford to bring someone like that in,” he said.

“Because what it does is it gives a bit of continuity to the club as well because the turnover is not as great in that role but also it takes a lot of load off the manager and coaches and things like that to deal with all the kind of fluff around about it and you can just focus on the thing that is going to be most important on a Saturday.

“So yes, eventually I think the club would like to get there but at this moment in time there is no plans to bring anyone in.”

Meanwhile, work continues to bring in a new coach with ex-United striker and Neilson’s longtime assistant Stevie Crawford top of the list.

Crawford recently joined Scottish Championship rivals Dunfermline as reserve team manager and first team coach in July which means that some form of compensation may be required to secure Crawford’s services.

“I have spoken to the chairman that we need to try and get someone on-board,” said Neilson.

“So we are assessing that at the moment but obviously people have contracts with clubs and things like that, so it is important we don’t tread on any toes, but I would like to get another coach in.

“I’ve got Laurie (Ellis) here and really pleased with him, I think he has a great relationship with the players and he is a really good coach but I believe I need to get a striking coach in as well.

“Somebody that understand the details of the attacking areas because they are a different breed and they need different things, so I am hoping to get someone in.”

Dundee United take on Partick Thistle at Firhill this Saturday at 3pm in the only Scottish Championship game this weekend.

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