Dundee manager Jim Duffy admits the departure of Davie Hay from Dunfermline throws up even more uncertainty in the battle to avoid relegation from the Bank of Scotland Premier League.
The Dark Blues will travel to East End Park on Saturday in a bid to effectively secure their top-flight status next season.
A win in Fife would see Dundee move six points clear of SPL bottom club Dunfermline.
Paul Hegarty, Craig Robertson, Hamish French and goalkeeping coach Scott Thomson are looking after first-team duties following the departures of Hay and his assistant, Billy Kirkwood.
But the Dundee manager admits the air of uncertainty at the Fife club must be ignored by his team as they chase the win which could virtually condemn the Pars to the Bell’s First Division.
Duffy said: “It’s hard to say what will happen now that Davie has gone because these things can go either way.
“There are cases of caretakers coming in and having a big impact, like Gordon Chisholm at United for example.
“But you never can tell how players will react, especially when so much is at stake.
“We can’t afford to think too much about this issue. It’s Dunfermline’s concern and all I am bothered about is what we do when we go there.
“I don’t think the outcome of Saturday’s game will be decided by whoever is in charge.
“It’s going to be the two sets of players and who copes with the situation best.
“I was very pleased with our attitude and effort in the derby and, if we continue to go about things in the right way, our luck will turn.”
Duffy has long been an admirer of Hay’s and backed the veteran manager to stay in the game.
He added: “Davie is one of the most popular and likeable guys in the game so I am sure he will be back.
“He has a wealth of experience and has built a great reputation on what he did at Celtic, in Scandinavia and then winning the CIS Cup with Livingston.
“The Dunfermline directors obviously felt they had to make a decision and that’s not for me to comment on, but I am sure Davie will take it in his stride.
“I have been sacked myself and it’s not a nice experience, but that comes with the territory and you just have to get on with it.”
Duffy has injury concerns over Fabian Caballero, who has a rib injury, Brent Sancho and virus-hit Iain Anderson.
In addition to his fitness problems, Tom McManus is suspended after receiving a red card for a kick on Dundee United’s Barry Robson.