SWINDON Town chief executive Nick Watkins has confirmed that talks with a handful of potential new owners are at “an advanced stage”.

The Robins are currently negotiating the sale of a large chunk of majority shareholder Andrew Black’s 98 per cent stake in Town, after the Betfair founder stated that he is unwilling to pump any more of his personal wealth into the club.

The Advertiser understands there remain three parties whose interest is being treated with serious consideration by the Swindon board, of which one is believed to be ahead in their discussions.

It is understood that a deal could be reached as early as next week.

A new foreign owner is still not out of the question, but the Adver has learnt that a domestic consortium is currently leading the way.

Watkins moved to ease fans’ worries by emphasising that talks regarding a potential takeover at the County Ground remain positive.

“STFC appreciates that the fanbase is anxious for news pertaining to the introduction of new investors to replace Andrew Black,” he said.

“Since Andrew Black announced his desire to exit Swindon Town, some members of the STFC board have been working intensely in an effort to identify new investors and secure their interest.

“A number of potential investor groups have been identified and discussions with some are at an advanced stage but there is still some work to do, in order to bring this interest successfully home.

“Due diligence should take limited time because everything is prepared and the club records are very detailed, but time remains the issue and everything is being done achieve the time lines.”

Away from the boardroom, the Advertiser has been told that reports linking Crystal Palace with a bid for Matt Ritchie are wide of the mark. It is understood that no formal approaches have been received for the winger.

Meanwhile, two products of Swindon’s youth academy were yesterday day called up as standby to the Wales Under 21 squad for the clash with Iceland.

Aaron Oakley and Louis Thompson could now feature in the friendly, which is due to take place on February 6.

Finally, Town have announced an open training session will be held at the County Ground on Wednesday, February 13 - between 10am and 1pm - which fans are welcome to attend for free.

Four new dates have also been announced for stadium tours during the February half-term, priced at £8 for adults and £4 for concessions. The tours are scheduled to run between February 11 and 15. For more information and to book your place email chris@swindontownfc.co.uk or call 08448801101.