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Decision time for Oxford United over Portsmouth's approach for boss Chris Wilder
OXFORD United will have to make a decision this week over interest in boss Chris Wilder.
The Oxford Mail understands Portsmouth have approached the U’s to request permission to speak with their manager.
When contacted yesterday, Ian Lenagan declined to add to comments made in a radio interview on Saturday evening, when the United chairman said he had not heard anything from Portsmouth, but was “not concerned”.
Mark Catlin, chief executive at Fratton Park, confirmed they had made approaches to a number of clubs as part of the search for the successor to Guy Whittingham, who was sacked last week.
The Portsmouth chief would not be drawn on specific targets and said whatever they did would be via the correct channels.
- Oxford United's players head towards the visiting fans after their draw at Fleetwood on Saturday
Wilder is out of contract at United in the summer, but Lenagan said he was not worried about potential interest.
“I think anyone would be interested in Chris Wilder,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be interested in a manager who is top of the league?
“I think it is delightful that a club wants Chris Wilder. I wouldn’t want him to go, he has a contract with us.”
Lenagan added: “I am not concerned about Portsmouth at all.”
The situation should become clearer within the next couple of days.
Pompey are believed to want a definitive short-list by tomorrow, with interviews beginning later in the week, so United would have to make their intentions clear by then.
Richie Barker, who was sacked by Crawley two days after Whittingham’s exit, is the bookmakers’ favourite, with Wilder next best at 3-1.
- Dave Kitson celebrates his 89th-minute equaliser
The United manager has steered United to the top of Sky Bet League Two this season despite a crippling injury list and small first-team squad.
His record means that the U’s boss, who is nearing a fifth anniversary in charge, is likely to be targeted.
With his contract expiring at the end of this season, clubs may feel the offer of a long-term deal could prove tempting.
Portsmouth remain attractive too and despite sitting 17th in Sky Bet League Two, their average home gates are in excess of 15,000.
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