PAUL COOK is today set to complete his move to Wigan.
And his pending departure has already sparked a scramble to become the Pompey boss’ successor.
Kenny Jackett has become a strong early contender to be the man to take the Blues forward in League One next season, The News understands.
Gary Bowyer, Paul Tisdale, Darrell Clarke and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink are other names in the frame at this formative stage.
Jackett is known to have favour in the Fratton hierarchy and ticks plenty of boxes when it comes to managing a club of Pompey’s stature.
The 55-year-old has gained promotion at his past three clubs, before leaving Rotherham last November after just 39 days in charge.
Jackett has two League One promotions on his CV with Wolves and Millwall, as well as getting Swansea out of League Two.
The fact he’s handled pressure at clubs of their stature has been noted in the corridors of power at PO4.
The job Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer has carried out in taking his side back up to League One against a backdrop of fan unrest has also impressed.
Exeter boss Tisdale is a favourite shout among Pompey supporters after leading the Devon outfit to Wembley in the League Two play-offs.
There are some reservations, however, over how the 44-year-old would adapt to life under the Fratton microscope.
Tisdale, who is the second longest-serving manager in English professional football to Arsene Wenger, is known to be comfortable remaining where he is.
That’s underlined by him turning down roles at the likes of Southampton, Reading and Norwich in the past.
Clarke is yet another name in the frame.
The 39-year-old has done an outstanding job in securing back-to-back promotions at Bristol Rovers and steered them to 10th place in League One last term.
And there’s also a natural No2 in place for the Mansfield-born man in the shape of Academy coach Mikey Harris. The pair worked together at Sailsbury and Harris would be an ideal fit with his Blues background.
There is also the chance of using Harris in an interim role – or as an outside shot – on a permanent basis.
Hasselbaink is interested in the post and took Burton Albion to the top of League One after gaining promotion from the fourth tier.
Discussions between Cook and Wigan are expected to be concluded today, with assistant Leam Richardson alsso moving to the DW Stadium.