sport

Portsmouth move for Wilder

Oxford United have given League Two rivals Portsmouth permission to speak to manager Chris Wilder.

In a statement on their official website, United said that while they would like the 46-year-old to remain at the Kassam Stadium, they felt they could not deny him the opportunity to be interviewed by Pompey.

The south-coast club have been without a manager since sacking Guy Whittingham eight days ago.

Wilder has been in charge of Oxford for almost five years, during which time he led the club back into the Football League, in 2010.

If he decides to move to Fratton Park, he will leave a club currently top of League Two for a side 17th in the same division.

In their statement, Oxford chairman Ian Lenagan is quoted saying: "We have allowed Chris Wilder to speak to Portsmouth, partly out of respect for Chris' long service at Oxford United and partly because we want our manager to be at Oxford United because he has the desire to be here, not because we prevent him speaking to other clubs.

"Chris and I have been entirely straightforward with each other and from the Board's point of view we have made it abundantly clear that that we want him to continue doing the good job he has been doing at Oxford United."

Lenagan added that he was unhappy with the timing of Portsmouth's approach, coming on the day that Oxford are due to play Fleetwood.

"There are ways of doing these things properly, and we feel that the timing of the approach by Portsmouth, and the leaking of that approach on a matchday - whoever was responsible for that - was not doing things properly," he added.

"It is a tribute to Chris Wilder's professionalism that he remained 100% focussed on the job at hand, but I will be writing to Portsmouth's Board about what happened."