Malky Mackay
Cardiff City's coach Mackay gestures during their English League Cup final match against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium in London. REUTERS

Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has praised Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay and believes it is only a matter of time before the Scot is head-hunted for a move to the Premier League.

Mackay guided Cardiff to the final of the Carling Cup in his first season in charge before losing to Liverpool on penalties at Wembley on Sunday.

Nevertheless, Hansen insists Mackay will now be in-demand by a number of Premier League sides and the former Liverpool captain warned Cardiff may struggle to keep hold of their manager, should their impressive form continue.

"I'm sure if a big job comes up Malky will be one of the candidates to get it," Hansen told the BBC.

"In the Premier League there are jobs coming up every five minutes. I'm not saying for one minute he'll leave Cardiff because he has great affinity with the supporters and the football club.

"History tells you that if a big club comes beckoning, the vast majority of managers will go to that big club. It's human nature [and] that's the way the world works."

The former West Ham and Norwich City defender succeeded Dave Jones as Cardiff boss last June and has guided the Bluebirds to sixth in the Championship, as well as overseeing their successful Carling Cup run.

In the run-up to Sunday's final, Mackay signed a new three and a half year contract extension which will keep him at Cardiff until June 2016.

And Hansen applauded Cardiff's efforts to keep their current manager, saying it was only a matter of time before a top Premier League side made an approach for the 40-year-old.

"He's proved at Watford and he's proved at Cardiff that he's a top class manager," added the former Scotland international.

"It was a shrewd move by the Cardiff hierarchy to keep him there for three-and-a-half years.

"The main thing for them is to try and push for promotion."