AFC Totton expect to announce their new manager at the end of the week.

The beaten Evo-Stik Southern Premier play-off finalists were swamped with well over 20 applications for the job when Stuart Ritchie resigned after eight years at the helm.

They have whittled that down to a short-list of six candidates and are halfway through the interview process.

Acting chairman Paul Wallace confirmed yesterday: “We got two or three late applications which we looked at, bringing it up to around 25 or 26.

“We made a short-list of half a dozen and we’re halfway through the interviews.

“Hopefully we will be making an announcement towards the end of the week.”

A fun poll being run on the AFC Totton fans’ forum suggests ex-Saint Nick Holmes is the man supporters would most like to see in charge, but it is understood the former Salisbury City boss has not applied for the job.

Bashley’s Southampton-based manager Steve Riley is another popular choice, followed by Stags’ skipper and supporters’ player-of-the-season Carl Pettefer.

Other names put forward by the fans include former Stags players James Taylor and Craig Davis, ex-Saint Jon Gittens, Christchurch boss Graham Kemp, Poole Town boss Tom Killick, former Totton managers Barry Blankley and John Robson, ex-Eastleigh boss Paul Doswell now of Sutton United, and Shaun Gale, Ritchie’s predecessor at Havant & Waterlooville.

Former Basingstoke Town boss Frank Gray is another name being touted, along with ex-Hayes & Yeading and Farnborough manager Garry Haylock and former AFC Bournemouth youth coach Joe Roach.

Wallace, who intends to continue as acting chairman until the AGM in September, has also confirmed that the club are in talks with a “potential major sponsor”, but he cannot divulge any details at present.

“There’s a non-disclosure agreement in place, but it’s quite exciting,” he said.