The Hawks expect to name their new boss by the end of next week.
That’s the view of new vice chairman Jim Fallon, who – along with chairman Derek Pope – has intensified his search for a replacement for Shaun Gale.
Gale left the Westleigh Park hot seat following the Hawks’ defeat to Basingstoke at the end of last month.
Since then, Gale’s assistant Steve Johnson has taken temporary charge of first-team affairs while interest in the vacant position has poured in.
The relegation-threatened Hawks have received over 30 applicants for the post that include some high-profile names and they are expected to trim that down to 12 before making their final decision next week.
‘We have had in excess of 32 applications and we are drawing up a shortlist,’ said Fallon.
‘The 12 people shortlisted will be invited for interview and we hope to make a decision by next Thursday.
‘The applicants include a few high-profile names.
‘We are going through the process of due diligence and will then speak to the candidates face to face before making a final choice.’
With the club currently embroiled in a relegation battle, it remains unclear at what level the Hawks will be operating next season.
With just two games left this term, the side are in real danger of being relegated to the Southern League – despite third-from-bottom Hampton & Richmond losing 2-1 at home to Salisbury last night.
That fact isn’t lost on Fallon, though, who remains clear what he wants from the newly-appointed individual.
‘We are in a delicate situation,’ he admitted.
‘If things go against us then we are looking for someone to bring us straight back into the Blue Square South.
‘Not only that but we will then want them to get us challenging at the top, looking to progress into the Blue Square Premier. We will make the necessary investment and support to make sure we build on what we already have at the club.’
Home defeats against Dover and Basingstoke in the past five days came as a huge blow to the Hawks’ survival hopes.
They now face two must-win games against fellow-strugglers Farnborough – away on Saturday – and Staines Town at Westleigh Park on the final day of the season.
‘We are in a real precarious situation and the next fortnight will be tense,’ said Fallon.
‘The game against Basingstoke on Monday night was so frustrating.
‘You couldn’t have asked any more from the players, who gave it their all.
‘We just couldn’t put the ball in the net. It wouldn’t happen for us.’
n Goals from Matt Northcott (2), Jordan Neal and Dan Errington gave Locks Heath a 4-0 victory over Paulsgrove in the Puma Engineering Hampshire League last night.