Jimmy Nicholl poised to assist Kenny Shiels at Kilmarnock

Cowdenbeath manager Jimmy Nicholl is set to make a return to the SPL as assistant to Kenny Shiels at Kilmarnock.

It is understood Shiels, who is currently on holiday, has verbally agreed to stay on as Kilmarnock boss following his interim spell in charge in the wake of Mixu Paatelainen's departure for the Finland national job in March. And the Northern Irishman has identified compatriot Nicholl as the man he wants as his No2 at Rugby Park.

Cowdenbeath, who were relegated to the Second Division earlier this month, have agreed to allow Nicholl to hold talks with Kilmarnock, where he helped Jimmy Calderwood stave off relegation from the Premier League 12 months ago before taking over at Central Park.

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Those discussions had still not taken place by yesterday afternoon, with the former Dunfermline and Aberdeen assistant due to head off on holiday today. However, it is believed that none of the parties expect any major stumbling blocks that would prevent Nicholl returning to the SPL as right-hand man to Shiels.

A spokesman for Cowdenbeath said: "All we can do is confirm that we have allowed Kilmarnock to speak to Jimmy and we are waiting to see what happens."

Meanwhile, Hearts midfielder Ruben Palazuelos admits he is likely to have played his last game for the club, with his contract due to expire at the end of June. The 28-year-old has returned to his native Spain following the end of the SPL season. And, despite not being told for certain that his time in Gorgie is over, the fact he is one of the club's high earners diminishes significantly the prospect of him being offered a new deal. Palazuelos, who joined in 2007, said of his next move: "It's time for me to do some thinking. I will take the best option for me and for my family."