THE big advantage from being in football for half a century is little can arise which you have not dealt with before.

Assuming control of a side with a week left in the transfer window sounds like a daunting task, but Derek Fazackerley has kept calm and carried on.

It is the third spell in caretaker charge – either on his own or as a duo – during a long CV and his instincts are clear.

“I was at Blackburn with Tony Parkes for well over half a season (1996/97) waiting for Roy Hodgson to come which was… interesting,” he said, with a wry smile.

“I did it once before when Bobby Saxton left York for four or five games.

“The players know me, so I’m not going to change my personality.

“The only thing the players will expect from me is honesty and to tell them the way it is.

“That’s the way I am and I don’t think they would expect any different.

“The fact you’ve got the manager’s chair makes it even more important to be open and honest with them and try to explain as best you can the decisions you make.

“It’s up to them then how they react to it.”

The build-up to Wednesday’s transfer deadline proved a distraction this week from attention on United’s managerial vacancy.

Pep Clotet was sacked 11 days ago and supporters are still waiting to hear any comment from the club, beyond the initial brief statement.

From Fazackerley’s point of view, the situation has not changed since he was handed the reins on January 22.

He said: “It’s as clear as it was last week – I’m doing the job until I’m told differently.

“I’m just getting on with what they asked me to do – look after the club through the transfer window.

“It came as a little bit of a surprise, but it is what it is and I just carry on with it until such time as the situation changes.”

United’s silence over the process makes it difficult to know how close they are to making a decision.

For the moment the 66-year-old appears to be getting time to stake a claim, whether in an interim role for the rest of the campaign or as Clotet’s permanent successor.

Bookmakers view Fazackerley among the favourites and while he has not made a public bid for the role, he has not ruled himself out.

When asked yesterday if he was a candidate, Fazackerley replied: “Who knows.

“You’re asking the wrong person, you should be asking the chairman.”

Having negotiated the transfer window, the next challenge is a trip to Charlton Athletic, where United are likely to be backed by more than 1,000 travelling fans.

And Fazackerley’s demands on the players should go down well with the Yellow Army.

He said: “It’s a cliché but you want a side that wears the shirt with pride, that’s what supporters want.

“I think they will take a result, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, providing they see the effort and application they expect.

“The fact we travel with a large amount of support is fantastic and gives everybody a lift.”