THE thoughts of Pars fans are turning to who they would like as their new manager after Allan Johnston parted company with the club after three-and-a-half years in charge.

The 45-year-old, who guided Athletic to the League One title in 2016, left East End yesterday (Wednesday) with the club seventh in the Championship, four points adrift of fourth top Greenock Morton.

Johnston was the sixth-longest serving manager in the SPFL but he became the fifth manager to leave their job in the Championship so far this season.

The search is now on to find a replacement and the 32nd permanent manager of Dunfermline, and several names are already being linked with the job.

Online bookmaker list Stevie Crawford - who will take the team for Saturday's match at Dundee United - as their favourite to take the reigns, closely followed by ex-Par Stewart Petrie.

The Montrose manager, who made 267 appearances during 10 years with Dunfermline, took over at Links Park in December 2006 and guided them to the League Two title last season.

They are currently sixth in League One, two points behind fourth-placed Forfar Athletic, and would likely be seen as a popular choice amongst much of the club's support.

Another former Dunfermline player, Darren Young, is another of the early suggestions after impressing with both Albion Rovers and East Fife.

He won League Two with the former in his first season in charge and, after leading them to sixth place the following season in League One, he left in 2017.

Young then moved to Methil where, having led the Fifers to sixth place last term, he has them sitting third, six points behind second-top Raith Rovers.

Another name linked to the job is Alloa boss Jim Goodwin, whose team are just one place behind the Pars after winning promotion via the play-offs last season, while former Athletic full-back, and ex-Partick Thistle, Dundee United and York City manager, Jackie McNamara, has also been quoted.

That is also true of Greg Shields, who is second favourite with bookmaker Bet Victor, while former Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald has also been touted.

There has been fan-chatter of a possible return for Craig Brewster - who memorably led the line with Crawford when the Pars reached the 2004 Scottish Cup final - while other names mentioned include Steven Pressley, John Hughes and Alan Stubbs.