It’s D-day for McInnes: Career-defining choice for manager

Stewart Milne and Derek McInnes.

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes is weighing up the biggest decision of his career as he edges towards the Pittodrie exit.

The Dons turned down an initial approach from Rangers to speak to McInnes on Tuesday night but the 46-year-old remains the preferred candidate for the Light Blues, who have been without a manager for six weeks since Pedro Caixinha was sacked.

Rangers are understood to be prepared to pay £1million compensation for McInnes and his assistant Tony Docherty – neither of whom were present as the Aberdeen players trained yesterday.

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First-team coach Barry Robson, under-20s coach Paul Sheerin and goalkeeping coach Gordon Marshall led the session, with McInnes and Docherty instead meeting chairman Stewart Milne for crunch talks.

There was no fresh approach from Rangers yesterday and McInnes, who is under contract until 2020, could tender his resignation to force the issue.

The Dons are due to hold their pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow night’s meeting with Dundee at lunchtime today.

Former Aberdeen captain and manager Willie Miller believes the Dons should give McInnes permission to talk to their Glasgow rivals.

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McInnes, who guided the Dons to League Cup success in 2014, was granted permission to speak to Sunderland in the summer but opted to remain at Pittodrie.

Miller said: “Derek has been a magnificent manager for Aberdeen.

“Although things haven’t been going great for them in recent years, Rangers are a big club with the potential to be great again.

“I would imagine Derek would like to at least speak to Rangers and then make his own mind up.

“Contractually, I’m sure the Dons directors would like to hold Derek to the terms of his contract.

“He has a good relationship with the chairman and they should be sorting it out between themselves.

“If there is a willingness from Derek to speak to Rangers then it is difficult for the chairman to stand in his way.

“The last thing you want is an unhappy manager at the club.

“It is all about what Derek wants to do.

“if he wants to then he should be allowed to speak to Rangers.”

Bookmaker Paddy Power has installed St Mirren’s Jack Ross as the 5-4 favourite to replace McInnes at Pittodrie should the manager decide to leave, with former Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs (5-1) and Preston’s Alex Neil (11-2) also in the running.

Other potential contenders include former Scotland manager Gordon Strachan (14-1) and Paul Lambert (20-1).