Oxford manager Chris Wilder has been granted permission to speak to Portsmouth about taking over at Fratton Park.
Pompey are looking for a new boss to replace Guy Whittingham, who was axed last week, and have earmarked 46-year-old Wilder as a potential candidate.
Oxford chairman Ian Lenagan told the club website: "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 is, however, unhappy at the timing of Pompey's approach as Oxford have a match against Fleetwood on Tuesday night.
He added: "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."