The Phoenix coaching shortlist has been whittled down to five.
After being flooded with applications - the emails started arriving within hours of Ernie Merrick announcing his departure less than two weeks ago - the selection panel has settled on their standout quintet.
Interviews are well under way and will be completed early next week, with a decision on the preferred candidate to be made before Christmas.
Secrecy surrounds the identity of those on the shortlist, with the club striving to maintain the confidentiality of applicants, but the Herald on Sunday understands at least three are European based.
There is some impressive experience among them, with men who have coached in the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, Dutch Eredivisie and Belgian Jupiler League.
It's also believed there are two Australasian-based contenders, though the club declined to comment when asked if Auckland City coach Ramon Tribulietx was on their list.
Interim coaches Chris Greenacre and Des Buckingham have also not been ruled out. Some Phoenix players, including Vince Lia and Kosta Barbarouses, said earlier this week they would be in favour of stability at the club, but that is a common response from players in these situations.
While Greenacre and Buckingham have impressed insiders with the way they have stepped into the breach, there is a sense that their relative inexperience, and association with Merrick's tenure (which, resultswise, was a failure) will count against them.
Buckingham has been responsible for the goalkeepers and defence for the past 18 months, and the Phoenix have rarely been solid at the back during that time. Likewise, Greenacre's chances will be blighted by a misfiring attack so far this season, with just nine goals in nine games, and five of those coming against a modest Central Coast Mariners side.
The selection panel includes two of the Welnix ownership group, two directors and club chief executive David Dome.
They have a big decision to make.
Last time, to a great extent, they got it right. Merrick was the correct choice to right the ship after Ricki Herbert's struggles in his final season, and he has established a good platform.
Now they need someone to take the club to the next level. If they become a consistent playoff team, then the crowds will return and the tiresome debate about the FFA's metrics will lessen.
The squad is already in place for this season - and the owners are reportedly content with their roster - so the new coach won't be in a position to bring in many, if any, players.
He'll have to work with what he's got and it's more about unlocking the motivational key for the Phoenix squad, as well as coming up with the best strategy, tactics and game plan to suit the side.
The A-League is challenging, especially with the travel schedule and budget constraints, which is why some big names from Europe, with flash CVs, haven't always prospered in Australia in the past.