BREAKING: Ambitious ex-Sheffield United, Oxford United and Middlesbrough boss open to potential Portsmouth interest over Fratton Park vacancy

Chris Wilder is open to an approach over Pompey’s managerial vacancy.
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But The News understands the former Premier League boss would need convincing of the Blues’ ambition.

Wilder is keen to return to Championship football following his departure from Middlesbrough in October, yet Pompey remains a club he has long admired.

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Indeed, he has long spoken about the Blues and their Fratton faithful in glowing terms – and it is believed he would listen to potential interest, irrespective of the club’s current League One status.

Another ex-Sheffield United boss, Neil Warnock, has told The News he would be willing to manage for the remainder of the season.

Wilder is an intriguing name, having been shortlisted for the Fratton Park job in December 2013, only for Richie Barker to win the boardroom vote and be chosen ahead of him.

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Wilder went on to lead Northampton to the League Two title, before claiming the League One crown with Sheffield United and then taking the Blades into the Premier League.

Chris Wilder is a popular name among Pompey fans to replace Danny Cowley. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty ImagesChris Wilder is a popular name among Pompey fans to replace Danny Cowley. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Chris Wilder is a popular name among Pompey fans to replace Danny Cowley. Picture: Michael Regan/Getty Images

In contrast, Barker lasted three-and-a-half months at Pompey and never managed again following his departure by mutual consent in March 2014.

Although the South Yorkshireman has done fine work as assistant manager at MK Dons, Charlton, Rotherham and, presently, Derby.

Regardless, Wilder retains immense respect for the club which rejected him nine years ago, while many Pompey fans are keen to see him replace Danny Cowley.

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The News understands the right challenge at the right club could tempt the 55-year-old back to League One, despite stock remaining high following his Sheffield United heroics.

Having started his managerial career at non-league Alfreton Town and then Halifax before taking Oxford United back into the Football League, Wilder hasn’t forgotten his roots.

And it is understood he would have no qualms returning to the lower divisions again for a project which matches his own ambition.

Whether Pompey fit that category remains to be seen, with Tornante intent on operating a self-sustainable policy, albeit having made significant losses following Covid.

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Not taking into account money received from player sales, Danny Cowley was handed a bigger playing budget than predecessors Kenny Jackett and Paul Cook.

However, Jackett’s spending power was boosted by the sales of Jamal Lowe, Matt Clarke and Anton Walkes, while Marcus Harness was the sole player Cowley was able to cash in on.

Certainly Wilder is keen for a return to football after leaving Middlesbrough in October following 11 months at the Riverside Stadium.

Before that he secured two promotions in three seasons at Sheffield United, taking them into the Premier League and earning him the LMA Manager of the Year for 2018-19.

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After finishing an impressive ninth in their first season back in the top flight, their second campaign in 2020-21 began disastrously, losing 15 of their opening 17 league fixtures.

Wilder departed Bramall Lane by mutual consent in March 2021, nonetheless remains a name high on Pompey fans’ list to replace Danny Cowley.