Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson edges closer to MK Dons switch after meeting Pete Winkelman in England

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson last night edged closer to joining MK Dons after travelling to England to hold talks with the League One club.

Neilson oversaw Jambos training at the Oriam national performance centre yesterday morning ahead of tonight’s clash with Rangers at Tynecastle, which appears certain to be his final match in charge of the club.

However, he then dashed to England in the afternoon to meet with MK Dons chairman Pete Winkelman.

robbie-neilson-newerIt is understood Neilson was shown the club’s facilities, including their 30,000-seater Stadium MK, while ironing out the finer points of his impending switch.

With the respective clubs close to finalising a compensation package, Neilson will take charge of Hearts’ clash against the Gers but is expected to formally join MK Dons by the end of the week.

Hearts have already begun the task of seeking a new head coach, however it will not be the current assistant Stevie Crawford, who is set to join Neilson at MK Dons, and is not among the candidates for the top job in Gorgie.

While the Edinburgh outfit are keen on the concept of developing coaches from within under the tutelage of director of football Craig Levein, Crawford was hand-picked by Neilson, rather than Levein, and will remain by his boss’s side.

And with under-20s boss Jon Daly, who only joined the club in January, still learning his trade, Hearts will appoint an external candidate.

East Fife boss Gary Naysmith, who led the Bayview side to the League Two title last term, and Newcastle assistant manager Ian Cathro are, however, firmly on the Jambos’ radar.

Levein, meanwhile, could take charge of this weekend’s Premiership fixture against Ross County if, as expected, Neilson and Crawford both leave the club in the next 48 hours.

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