Chester FC chief executive Mark Maguire has been impressed by the 'quality' of the applicants for the vacant manager's job.
So much so that he expects the Blues to carry out a lengthy interview process on Monday and Tuesday with a view to appointing the new boss in time for the visit of Maidenhead United on Saturday week (September 23).
Chester interviewed four managers in May 2016 after sacking Steve Burr with his assistant Jon McCarthy ultimately beating Paul Carden, Richard Hill and Steve Watson to the job.
But this time around Maguire and the Blues board will carry out more interviews given the standard of candidates who have firmed up their interest in becoming McCarthy's replacement.
Marcus Bignot, Ronnie Moore, Dino Maamria are all understood to have applied while ex-Everton and Newcastle United defender Watson, who is now assistant manager at Macclesfield Town, and former Bolton Wanderers and England striker Kevin Davies are said to have expressed an interest.
The bookmakers' favourite remains Graham Barrow, who is currently number two to Gary Caldwell at Chesterfield.
Maguire has confirmed that the successful applicant will be a boss who replied to the club's job advert - which led to '300-odd not so serious' applications - and not one who has been 'headhunted'.
Here's what Mark Maguire told The Chronicle
"It's been a hectic few days, a combination of supporting Tom (Shaw) and the boys behind the scenes in their preparation for the games that have come thick and fast, but at the same time fielding all the applications that have come in. The quantity and the quality has made it harder work, but that's a positive.
"We received 120 what we would call serious applications and then there probably were about 300-odd not so serious. We've started the process of shortlisting the candidates and that will conclude by the close of play today (Thursday).
"Then it will be a case of scheduling interviews for the first part of next week, which will be down to the availability of the candidates. We'll interview then with the view to making a decision by the middle of next week.
"I'm really, really impressed by the managers who have applied and I think it shows this is a job that is attractive to people and a job that people take seriously. There's a big history of football in Chester and people want to be part of our future. The decision will be made all the harder because of that, but it's a positive.
"I think we will have more than four applicants on the shortlist. We owe it to the fans and to the club that we are as diligent as we can be in the process. We'd struggle to nail it down to four, so yes, I'm thinking it'll be slightly longer than that.
"We discussed the possibility of headhunting someone, and we agreed from the start that if there was a lack of quality of applicants it was within our remit to go after managers, but given the quantity and quality of the applicants, we've not needed to do that. That's what we've stuck to as we've not felt the need."