A SALES manager from Bolton is bidding to prove where there's muck there's brass - by winning the next series of The Apprentice.

Alex Wotherspoon, aged 24, cut his entrepreneurial teeth selling horse manure for fertiliser.

And he will be among 16 aspiring tycoons to face a grilling from Sir Alan Sugar in the next series of the hit BBC1 show.

"I give 100 per cent all the way. I always speak my mind," said Mr Wotherspoon who lives in Rosewood, Westhoughton.

And he will need to be determined as he faces stiff competition for the chance to earn a six-figure salary working for Sir Alan, when the series starts on March 26.

Among his rivals trying to avoid Sir Alan's dreaded phrase "you're fired" are an ex-Army engineer, a former champion showjumper, a bank manager, a barrister and a woman whose biggest regret was turning down a role as a Bond girl body double.

Funding a month-long trip to the Greek islands was Mr Wotherspoon's motivation for selling manure but the business rapidly expanded.

Together with his brother, he began supplying garden centres and their topsoil became known as Wotherspoon's Black Gold.

In his current job, he looks after a team of 30 sales agents across northern Britain. A record 20,000 CVs were received from applicants around the UK before being whittled down to the final eight men and eight women.

The weekly challenges will see teams sweat it out to run rival laundrettes and pubs.

They will create a new perfume, design a new greeting card, invent a new ice cream flavour and sell wedding dresses.

There is also a tough international buying task which sees the candidates fly to Morocco, in an attempt to barter with the canniest salesmen in the world.

Mr Wotherspoon, who gained a BA in managerial administrative studies from Aston Business School, lists his hobbies as boxing and ballroom dancing.

Described as "charming and tenacious", he says he gets annoyed by freeloaders and social loafers. He admits he is incredibly accident prone, having punctured a lung, broken ribs, shattered his knuckles, severed his voice box, fractured fingers and dislocated his jaw.

From the off, Sir Alan delivers a tough talk to the new recruits.

"The money doesn't mean anything. Your prize is working with me," he says.

"This is a business boot camp. Mary Poppins I am not. I'm not going to hold your hand, I'm not going to tell you what to do.

" You're on your own two feet. Business starts now."

Among the other contestants is business liaison manager Lindi Mngaza, aged 22, who is originally from Manchester.