STEVE COTTERILL’s Blues future is today in the balance.
Nottingham Forest asked for permission to speak to the Pompey boss yesterday morning over their vacant position.
So far they have yet to be given an answer.
David Lampitt and joint-owners Roman Dubov, Vladimir Antonov and Chris Akers are currently deciding their next move.
However, The News understands Cotterill has not asked to leave Fratton Park and remains open to staying.
In addition, despite national reports yesterday, no interview with Forest has taken place.
Instead, Cotterill yesterday took training as usual with his Blues players and staff.
The next move is now up to Pompey as they look to settle the management issue.
Cotterill is on a Forest three-man wish list as they seek to make an appointment before the end of the week.
Former Barnsley boss Mark Robins and Aston Villa reserve team coach Kevin MacDonald are also believed to be candidates.
Robins is also in the frame for the job at Bristol City.
However, despite Cotterill being linked with Ashton Gate, too, at the start of the week, it is understood he is not in the running.
Instead it is Forest coveting Pompey’s manager.
They have been impressed with how Cotterill has performed since his south coast arrival in June 2010.
Last season, he steered the Blues away from relegation trouble, despite being hamstrung by finances and the smallest squad in the Football League.
This summer, he was left with a squad of just 10 players following a 17-man exodus.
Pompey are currently a disappointing 19th following four defeats in their past five matches.
Yet Forest have identified Cotterill as a candidate who can turn their club around after a poor start under McClaren.
Cotterill would be asked to operate on a strict budget, a factor which prompted McClaren to walk away early last week by mutual consent.
However, the former Cheltenham boss will be left with a bigger squad than the one he currently possesses at Fratton Park, the majority of whom helped Forest reach the play-offs last season.
Forest’s sights have turned to Cotterill after being rebuffed in moves to install Paul Hart as a technical director with a young manager working beneath him.
Former Blues boss Hart is presently working with Charlton’s Academy and Forest have been scared off by demands for £500,000 compensation.
That has effectively forced an approach for MK Dons manager Karl Robinson to also be scrapped.
Instead, Forest are focusing on an out-and-out manager – with Cotterill, Robins and MacDonald in the frame.
Should a move for Cotterill emerge, the Blues would be entitled to compensation.
His existing deal runs out in the summer of 2013.
Pompey yesterday declined to comment about Cotterill’s future.