CHAIRMAN Jeff Mostyn insists Cherries are in the “closing stages” of a recruitment process to finalise a manager to lead the club.

The Daily Echo understands owner Maxim Demin met with the club’s senior officials last week to discuss future strategies going forward, including the search for a first-team boss.

And chairman Mostyn has given an update on the situation. He insists the managerial appointment will be “fundamental” to the club’s success.

In an interview with BBC Radio Solent, Mostyn said: “We are currently finalising the recruitment process for a manager and we’re in the closing stages of that.

“The manager appointment we all know, is fundamental, it’s the key appointment of the summer and it’s the first piece of a puzzle.

“Once we have the manager in place, we will build a squad around him and the aim is to put together a playing squad that’s going to be competitive and progressive in the Championship next season.”

The Daily Echo understands cherries have narrowed down shortlist of managerial candidates, which included internal and external options.

As well as Mostyn, chief executive Neill Blake and Richard Hughes have been part of the process with owner Demin set to have the final say on any appointment.    

Cherries parted company with legendary boss Eddie Howe last August by mutual consent following relegation from the Premier League.

Howe’s number two Jason Tindall was then appointed as his successor at the start of last season but was sacked in February following a poor run of form.

Tindall had recruited Jonathan Woodgate on to his coaching staff to replace the outgoing Graeme Jones days before his dismissal.

Former England centre-half Woodgate impressed the club’s board in an interim role before being given a contract as head coach until the end of the season.

Woodgate guided Cherries to sixth in the Championship and saw his troops knocked out at the play-off semi-final stage by Brentford, who went on to seal promotion to the Premier League.

Asked by the Daily Echo following that defeat whether he wanted to be the man to lead the club into the 2021-22 campaign, Woodgate replied: "I haven’t thought about it. I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t thought about that.”

Quizzed on whether the club were looking for fresh ideas, Mostyn replied: “I think I just have to repeat what I’ve said. We are currently in the process of looking for the right person.

“We know what the ideals are, our fans know what the ideals are and it’s our responsibility to make sure this decision is absolutely right for the football club.”