Paul Tisdale has emerged as one of the front runners for the Pompey job.
The News understands the Exeter boss has been interviewed for the position left vacant by Guy Whittingham’s sacking.
The Grecians had given permission for Pompey to approach the long-serving boss out of respect for their manager.
As a result, it is believed he was interviewed on Tuesday by the Blues’ board at a hotel in Newbury.
Richie Barker and Steve Coppell, and Chris Wilder also spoke to Pompey officials on the first day of meetings with candidates on the club’s seven-man shortlist.
There were two interviews also held at Lakeside, North Harbour yesterday, among them ex-Fratton Park boss Steve Claridge.
The final two candidates will be met today – with David Connolly understood to be one of them – before a decision is made over who to appoint.
The partnership of Barker and Coppell remains the favourite option ahead of the club’s seven-man board voting for their choices in the next 24 hours.
Yet Tisdale is inevitably a strong contender after his consistent achievements on a shoestring budget at Exeter over seven years.
And noticeably plummeting odds at the bookies this week reflect that.
Although under contract, it is understood the Grecians’ board agreed to step aside and allow him to talk to Pompey as part of a long-standing agreement.
They have agreed not to stand in Tisdale’s way should an opportunity such as Pompey come his way, ruling out the problem of compensation.
Similarly, Oxford had given permission for Wilder to hold talks after he indicated his interest in the job, although Justin Edinburgh was denied by Newport County on Monday.
Still, the consideration of the 40-year-old is sure to please some Pompey fans who believe his work at Exeter warrants a look.
A former Southampton midfielder, he turned to management in 2000 with Team Bath after retiring through injury.
During six seasons they won four promotions and also reached the first round of the FA Cup.
In the summer of 2006 he became boss at St James’ Park and in his first season led them to the Conference play-offs final.
On that occasion they suffered defeat but a year later were back at Wembley to seal a return to the Football League with a win over Cambridge.
The following campaign of 2008-09 he took them to second place in League Two, thereby earning successive promotions.
Exeter remained in League One for two seasons on an extremely small budget with the club owned by a supporters’ trust.
However, they were relegated in 2010-11 back to League Two. Tisdale was at Fratton Park last month when the Grecians lost 3-2 against Pompey.
The new boss is expected to be unveiled by Monday.