Tam Courts: Dundee United have 'a very exciting prospect' - sporting director Tony Asghar

By Tyrone SmithBBC Scotland Sport
Dundee United head coach Tam Courts
Tam Courts has been promoted from Dundee United's academy set-up

Dundee United sporting director Tony Asghar says every managerial appointment "is a gamble" but that Tam Courts is a "very exciting prospect".

The 39-year-old's promotion from head of tactical performance to first-team head coach to replace the departed Micky Mellon has split fan opinion.

But Courts impressed the club in his 18 months with the club's academy.

"I think fans have every right to question any appointment or be sceptical about it," Asghar said.

"Every managerial appointment is a gamble - I have been on the other side where I have put managers into clubs and they have not worked out."

However, Asghar regards the last two appointments by the current Tannadice board as a success, with Mellon having "steadied the ship through really traumatic times" as United finished ninth in their first season back in the top flight before his return to Tranmere Rovers after a season away from the English club.

"But now we are ready to go back on plan with our five-year strategy and that is what Tam is going to lead and I am very excited about how he is going to do that," Asghar said.

Former Kelty Hearts manager Courts has been tasked with building on a season when United comfortably avoided relegation trouble, with former Scotland centre-half Charlie Mulgrew, who has been released by Blackburn Rovers, a possible first signing for the new team boss in a player-coach role.

"Hopefully with the fans back in, with exciting teams coming into the league, it is going to be a very competitive league, so we need to be up there and we need to be challenging for top six," Asghar said.

"That is the job that I have got and it is the job that Tam has got, so he will be backed and that is what we need to be doing."

United are in talks with 35-year-old Mulgrew, who had a loan spell at Tannadice from Celtic early in his career but ended the season on loan to Fleetwood Town as they finished 15th in England's League One.

"I have met with Charlie, I know Charlie very well, Tam has met with him," Asghar added. "I know he has got some other possibilities, but I am very hopeful and I think we will have Charlie in the building - I am very convinced of that.

"I think he is somebody that understands what we are trying to do here. He understands the vision, he understands what he wants to do, he is very hungry still to play, he is very hungry to look at eventually a career in coaching and I think we can provide that here at Dundee United."

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