And it might now be revealed on Monday, ahead of the planned Tuesday lunchtime announcement in Bath, provided all i's are dotted, t's crossed and those players who have suffered World Cup heartbreak can be individually contacted by the head coach.
Ashton said: "I have got a pretty good idea now of what the final 30 is going to be.
"I need to sit down, have a chat and hopefully be in a position - maybe on Sunday - to start making phone calls to the players."
While the England players do not reassemble in Bath until tomorrow afternoon, Ashton and his management team reported for duty today.
Items high on the selection agenda will surely include whether to consider long-term injury victim Mike Tindall, who has not played since mid-April.
Tindall, one of the most experienced players in Ashton's training squad, remains among a group that must be whittled down from 39 to 30.
Although Gloucester centre Tindall's training has been limited on his way back from a broken leg, England's opening World Cup game against the USA in Lens is still four weeks away.
Other probable areas for debate include prop, lock, back-row and back-three, where selection could come down to head-to-head contests.
Ashton added: "I had about 34 players in mind before the France game on Saturday, and that has probably knocked it down to 31 or 32.
"I don't think it is appropriate to comment on individual players at this stage.
"I am going to pick the best 30 players I think will serve England well at the World Cup."
If 2003 World Cup winner Tindall makes the cut, then Sale Sharks fly-half Charlie Hodgson is widely expected to be the highest profile casualty.
Hodgson, absent from competitive action since suffering a serious knee injury playing for England against South Africa last November, did not feature in the match-day 22s for World Cup warm-up encounters with Wales and France.
He was not alone in that capacity, yet Olly Barkley and Toby Flood look to be comfortably ahead of him as contenders to understudy Jonny Wilkinson.
England's 21-15 defeat against Twickenham visitors France - the teams meet again in Marseille next Saturday - left Ashton in philosophical mood.
He said: "I thought the whole framework of how we played had a lot better balance to it than it had against Wales the previous week, but it still wasn't good enough.
"I really don't think the confidence has been knocked. We are just absolutely furious we let the game get away.
"I think the players felt they certainly matched France in most areas of the game, and that was pretty close to be being France's strongest side, I would think.
"I don't believe we have taken a step backwards in any way, shape or form. It was a better performance than last week's.
"And what is really important in Marseille next weekend is that we take another step forward.
"If we can play like we did on Saturday and take opportunities we create, then it could lead to the right outcome in the game."