SHAUN Hearn hopes to appoint a new manager within the next fortnight, but insists there is no preferred candidate at this early stage.

The Dorchester Town chairman met with his fellow board members prior to Saturday’s 3-1 win over Tonbridge to discuss possible replacements for axed boss Ashley Vickers.

Around 15 potential suitors have already thrown their hat in the ring, and although keen to find a swift solution, Hearn will not be rushed into making a decision.

The county town businessman told Echosport: “We went through a few of the candidates who have applied for the job already and also discussed as a unit what we need to do to take the club forward.

“Basically, we will create a list of people to interview from everyone who does apply and start afresh.

“We’ve had about 15 at the moment and no doubt there will be a few more yet. It’s created a lot of interest and it’s vitally important we get the right person to do the job.

“It would be nice to have somebody in place in the next two weeks. But there’s no mad rush, there are a lot of things to take into account.

“There’s no need to panic in terms of our position and there is still a long way to go in the season. We will do it as a board and I’m confident we will get the right person.

“I would say 99 per cent of the candidates have no ties to the club as such. We want as many people that are interested in the position to make themselves known.

“I personally do not know who the next manager will be – we have an open mind. We are though, all of the same opinion as to what we want to achieve.”

Echosport understands that former Weymouth duo Alan Lewer and Des Bulpin, and ex-Newport County boss Peter Beadle are among those to have applied for the role.

It is also believed that David Byrne, once head of player development at Swindon Town, former Woking manager Kim Grant, ex-AFC Bournemouth youth team coach Joe Roach and current Christchurch chief Graham Kemp are all interested in the vacant post.

One man who could force his way into contention is caretaker Phil Simkin after the Magpies ended a run of three straight defeats in Blue Square Bet South.

Simkin said: “We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. If we keep winning matches then who knows. If we don’t, we don’t.

“It’s not always an easy position to be in but all you can do is do things how you see fit, even if that means making tough decisions.”

Next up for the Magpies is tomorrow night’s short trip to Weymouth for a second round tie in the Dorset Senior Cup.