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UPDATE: Oxford United confirm boss Chris Wilder set for Portsmouth talks
Interviews to replace Guy Whittingham, who was sacked last week, are due to begin today.
United chairman Ian Lenagan said: "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 also hit out at the approach becoming public on Saturday and blamed Portsmouth for the leak.
He said: “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.
"It is a tribute to Chris Wilder’s professionalism that he remained 100 per cent focused on the job at hand, but I will be writing to Portsmouth’s board about what happened.”
Wilder, who has guided the U's to the top of League Two, is on Pompey's shortlist, which decreased yesterday after Newport County rejected an approach for Justin Edinburgh.
But he is not the favourite to take the post at Fratton Park, with bookmakers still having ex-Crawley Town boss Richie Barker as the clear front runner.
A poll on the Oxford Mail website yesterday revealed almost three-quarters of voters were in favour of the club doing what they could to keep Wilder, who has been in charge for almost five years.
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