POMPEY were today stepping up their search for a new first-team coach.
And Kevin Dillon and Shaun North have emerged as two of the early names in the frame to take on the position.
The Blues are in the hunt for an experienced coach at lower-league level in the wake of Alan McLoughlin’s exit.
Both North and Dillon fit the criteria set by the board as they weigh up their options.
And The News understands both men are receptive to the prospect of linking up with Andy Awford.
Pompey have been inundated with CVs from coaches who are keen to play their part in a bid to make the League Two play-offs.
But Awford will select his own man and is in the process of meeting potential new additions to his backroom staff this week.
North and Dillon have both reached the play-offs with former Blues midfielder Dillon guiding Aldershot there in League Two in 2010.
That was the Shots’ best finish to a campaign, with North also first-team coach at Torquay as they reached the play-off final in 2011.
Dillon will be remembered for the six years he spent at Fratton Park as a midfielder in the 1980s.
He made 249 appearances in that time, scoring 56 goals, and was part of Alan Ball’s promotion-winning side in 1987 – but has held no role at the club since leaving for Newcastle in 1989.
The 54-year-old went on to work at Reading in a number of roles at Academy level, before graduating into the first-team picture in 2001.
He operated under Steve Coppell as the Royals gained promotion to the Premier League, before moving to the Recreation Ground in 2009.
Dillon has been working in football recruitment in recent years, which has taken in roles at Brighton, Watford and Sheffield United. That has also seen him work abroad.
North also has a long association with Pompey, working at the club in coaching roles for around a decade until 2006.
The 52-year-old, who still lives in the city, has operated almost exclusively in League Two after leaving the club, totalling up around 500 games at that level.
That has seen spells at Torquay, Bristol Rovers, AFC Wimbledon and Cheltenham, before leaving Whaddon Road after Paul Buckle’s appointment last week.
North has all of the relevant coaching qualifications after completing his Uefa pro licence badge in the summer.
He took part in that course with the likes of Gary Neville, Paul Ince and Chris Powell, along with managers with lower-league pedigree.
As part of the qualification, North also spent two weeks working with Ryan Giggs at the under-20 World Cup in Turkey last year.
He knows Awford well from their time at Pompey and they are friends. The same can be said of Dillon, who has passed his pro licence, with coach Paul Hardyman also a Blues team-mate in the 1980s.