ROBBIE NEILSON has confirmed that Hearts will hold crunch talks with Miguel Pallardo's agent next week as the Jambos attempt to hold on to the Spanish midfielder.

The 28-year-old, who boasts 179 appearances in Spain's top two divisions, is out of contract in the summer and the Tynecastle outfit are keen to extend his deal ahead of their tilt at the top flight.

However, Neilson acknowledges that the former Valencia and Levante man's signature remains up for grabs for any potential suitors. Pallardo's representative, Clive Jagger, is set to jet into Edinburgh next week and is likely to meet with Tynecastle director of football, Craig Levein, with whom he has a favourable relationship.

Neilson said: "We speak to Pallardo's agent regularly, he has come back and forward a few times and he will be back over next week - when we hope to get things sorted. I know Miguel is happy and enjoying things here.

"I think he wants a crack at the top flight with us, but you can't count your chickens in football because bigger teams could come in with an offer and he will be away.

"He does a great job in there, but it is also about his character - he is a fantastic guy to have at the club. He is humble, works hard and does all the right things. If we can get that tied up it will be fantastic. He will have no problem stepping up to the Scottish Premiership."