A SHOCK bid from a Cecil Duckworth-led consortium to take control of Worcester Warriors has been put “on hold” as the club closes in on securing new owners.

The long-term benefactor has told the Worcester News he was considering putting together a group of local businessmen, including chairman Bill Bolsover, to run the Aviva Premiership outfit.

However, with owners Sixways Holdings Limited appointing mid-market advisory firm Livingstone to push ahead with the sale Duckworth agreed to put his plans on the back burner.

And the club director has revealed a “small group” of investors with “deep pockets” have now come forward with an ambition to make Warriors successful.

“We have several people who are interested in investing in the club,” Duckworth said.

“There is a deadline of tomorrow so we are hoping to have it concluded.”

Duckworth began his association with Worcester in 1993 and thanks to his investment he transformed them into a top-flight rugby side.

After 22 years as executive chairman, he stepped down from the role in 2015 to become the club’s president.

But the 80-year-old remains on Warriors’ board and admitted he would be willing to step in if new investment was not found.

“I thought if we didn’t get an investor that perhaps I could put together a consortium,” Duckworth said.

“There are one or two people interested locally who love Premiership rugby at Worcester and would come forward with myself and Bill who is very keen.

“It could be put together if the current interest is unsuccessful but we all believe it will be now so that’s not necessary.

“At the moment it’s on hold.”

Duckworth added: “They appointed a company in London called Livingstone and I did not want that process interfered with.

“If I suddenly made it obvious that I wanted to be back involved and build a consortium that would be in conflict.

“I thought let’s leave that for another day.”

Sixways Holdings Limited took control of Warriors in 2014 but the club have reportedly lost more than £16million in the last three seasons.

Warriors were put on the market for £26.7million in September and Duckworth said the deal with the potential buyers included the 50-acre Sixways site, valued at £17million.

“We are pretty optimistic that it would be all sorted in the next week or so,” Duckworth said.

“We are majoring on the potential buyers who have put a lot of work in.

“They have apparently got deep pockets so we have got to see how that exactly pans out.

“They are ambitious and want to take the club forward.”

Duckworth said Warriors were “on schedule” and “optimistic” about getting “everything sorted” by Christmas.

“It’s dragging on a little longer than we would like it to have done," he said.

“But people take time and you always want a bit more information.

“We want to be a top-four club.

“The lasting ambition is still there and we believe it will be reinforced when we get this matter sorted out.”

On his own future involvement with the club, Duckworth added: “That’s to be decided but obviously I expect to be around for some time yet.”