Fulham have denied that disgraced former Cardiff manager Malky Mackay is a candidate for their managerial vacancy despite being spotted at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

The club’s chief executive Alistair Mackintosh revealed that Mackay was a personal friend of Fulham’s caretaker manager Kit Symons, who oversaw a narrow defeat by Blackburn Rovers, after the sacking of Felix Magath. Mackay’s star has fallen since a scandal over racist, sexist and homophobic texts allegedly exchanged by him and former Cardiff sporting director Iain Moody while he was manager at the Welsh club.

Fulham fans had reacted with fury to seeing Mackay in the directors’ box at the Cottage and the club’s American owner Shahid Khan said he would ‘personally’ oversee the search for Magath’s permanent replacement with the Whites bottom of the Championship.

Symons, promoted temporarily from his role as the club’s under-21 head coach, wants the job on a full-time basis.

“I just had to walk in and it gave the players a lift. Everyone has been so positive. It’s given me a huge boost. I’ve told the world and it’s wife that I want the job but I fully expect and want the owner to pick the right person. I think Alistair Mackintosh, the owner and I have a conference call. I will talk about why I feel I’m the right person.”