A CONSORTIUM led by former professional players who want to bring back Wanderers' youth academy are now the front runners in a three-way shootout for a 75 per cent stake in the club.

Interest from a party who signed non-binding heads of terms with the Wanderers board two months ago appears to have cooled, with uncertainty over which division the club will be playing in next season believed to be the reason for them getting cold feet.

That's paved the way for talks to start with two other interested groups and chairman Don Woodward said fans will be excited about the intentions of the footballer-led bid for the club.

Woodward said the new consortium have a long term vision for the club based around developing their own youngsters and not being forced into having to sell them on.

No names are being mentioned at this stage, although the ex-professionals are not former Wanderers players, but the club board hope the group will be able to present their plans for the club to supporters in the near future.

Woodward told the Bucks Free Press: "They are not experienced in ownership but in a playing and managing sense, yes they have been involved in football before.

"The thing that excites me is their devotion to youth, which suggests they are there for the long run.

"They are based in London, have relationships with a lot of other clubs and they've said, 'Your youth development was one of the best in the country and it needs re-establishing'.

"There's an awful lot of our players who have gone on to show what they can achieve at a higher level. Financially we had to let them go but we can change that and maybe keep them and go up the leagues. These people have the depth of funding for that."

The group which originally stepped forward with an offer to buy a 75 per cent controlling interest are now at the back of the line after fans were left frustrated at two no-shows from the money men at Trust members' meetings.

Woodward said: "They have had a long time to get their act together. They seem to be least likely at the moment."

The Wycombe Wanderers Trust have led the talks with the interested parties and their chairman Trevor Stroud said: "It's an exciting prospect. When we're in a position to disclose who they are, I think fans will be excited."

Asked what had been the main sticking points with the first group over the stalled talks, Stroud said: "There's an awful lot of promises which were then not fulfilled, and you get to the stage where you begin to question whether it's a legitimate bid, and that's where we are.

"I wouldn't say they are completely off the table. Discussions are still going on. We are still in contact with all three - no avenue has been closed."