Durham Wildcats could join the British Basketball League next season after it was confirmed that they have applied to join the top flight.

Although league chiefs are leaving the door ajar to a possible Manchester-based franchise, they are giving serious consideration to their proposal despite concerns over the size of their venue and the relatively small population of the city.

If accepted, Durham – run by ex-England international Dave Elderkin – would step up from the EBL as a de facto replacement for Worthing Thunder.

 “They have presented to the BBL, we’ve asked for some more information, and hopefully, we’ll have made a decision before the play-off final next weekend,” said BBL commercial director Mike Davies.

In an extensive interview in the new issue of MVP Magazine, Elderkin revealed his ambition to push the Wildcats into a higher tier after climbing from EBL Division 3 to 1 inside five years.

With ties to the city’s University, and grassroots programmes in place, he confirmed his intent to grow the club.

“The community programme will be expanded to cover every district of County Durham,” he said.

“Men playing BBL and Europe. Women in EBL One, and Europe. Emulating the cricket club on the international stage is very important to Durham County Council.”

No BBL bid, it is understood, has been received from Manchester, despite strong rumours linking Jeff Jones with a local consortium who want to re-start the Giants franchise.

The city’s existing club, Manchester Magic, have confirmed they will not step up but have signalled their willingness to support a BBL rival.

However, the league is likely to impose a deadline next month before it confirms its line-up for the 2011-12 season.

“We may or may not let in Manchester,” said Davies. “But as it stands, we’ve had no official approach.”

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