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Pompey are on the hunt for an experienced lower-division coach following the shock exit of Alan McLoughlin.

The joint first-team coach left the Blues following a meeting with manager Andy Awford before training yesterday morning.

Former Pompey first-team coach Alan McLoughlin

Former Pompey first-team coach Alan McLoughlin

Officially, the 47-year-old is still employed by the club, with his contract, at present, still intact.

However, McLoughlin has confided in friends he has departed Fratton Park in a decision which has left him shocked and hurt.

Pompey’s desire to add greater experience among the coaching staff is understood to be the driving force behind the surprise move.

With the onus on reaching the League Two play-offs this season, the Fratton Park hierarchy opted to act now, with the team drifting in 12th spot.

While Awford’s job is unquestionably safe, there has been a growing feeling within the boardroom that he requires extra assistance in his Blues task.

And the focus has turned to recruiting a coach who possesses a wealth of knowledge of the League One and League Two scene.

With Awford himself a rookie manager still learning the ropes, an experienced head to work alongside him has been pinpointed as the potential solution.

As a result, the roles of McLoughlin and fellow first-team coach Paul Hardyman had come under scrutiny of late, culminating in yesterday’s developments.

The pair both emerged from Awford’s youth team set-up to help coach the first team and that in itself has made Blues chiefs question whether the necessary experience is present.

McLoughlin also worked as coach under Guy Whittingham and Richie Barker last season – managerial appointments which failed to work out.

It is a stigma which has impacted upon his regard at Fratton Park among some, culminating in his exit.

The News understands the club had already been exploring the possibility of bringing in a coach to help with team aspects on the training ground.

Harry Redknapp famously recruited Luther Blissett to aid in sharpening up striker Yakubu – a decision which paid dividends in the forward’s development.

It was hoped a fresh voice would similarly benefit a squad which has struggled for consistency and failed to match expectations.

Now McLoughlin has made way, the Blues will step up the pursuit for a replacement to work alongside Awford and Hardyman.

Last night, key figures at the club were keeping a low profile when news emerged of the former Republic of Ireland international’s departure.

However, a club spokesman said: ‘Portsmouth Football Club do not comment on an individual’s contract.’

The issue of McLoughlin’s contract is expected to be settled within the next few days.