Hearts chief executive Phil Anderton has confirmed that Sir Bobby Robson is a leading candidatre to become the next manager of the SPL leaders.

Hearts are looking to replace George Burley who was sacked at the weekend amid reports that he had publicly clashed with majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov.

Anderton said he met with the 72-year-old Robson during the summer, with Romanov.

“He impressed us so much, the debate about his age is not relevant for me,” Anderton told the Scottish Sun.

“He impressed Vladimir with his knowledge and standing and I think he would put far younger men to shame.”

Robson was offered the job in the summer before Burley was appointed.

“We will revisit names on the original list because we are in a different situation now,” added Anderton.

“Football moves quickly and Sir Bobby Robson was definitely one who was right at the top of the list.”

Robson will be in Edinburgh this week to attend the funeral of his friend and former Fulham and England team-mate Johnny Haynes.

And the former England boss admitted at the weekend that the Hearts position is “an attractive job” and that he left Romanov “on good terms” after their previous talks.

But Robson added that he would not tolerate any interference if offered the Hearts job.

“I have never stood for any interference from my chairman. At all the clubs I’ve been at, the selection policy has been down to me,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Parma and Borussia Dortmund boss Nevio Scala, who also held talks with Hearts in the summer, says he is still keen on the post.

“I will be very glad to talk if Mr Romanov picks up the phone,” said the 57-year-old Italian.

The Edinburgh club cited “irreconcilable differences” for the departure of Burley, who led the team to the top of the table.