Ashley Westwood could quit Lincoln City in fewer than 50 days at the club amid speculation he has been offered a coaching role at Portsmouth.
The Echo understands the League One side want to make the former Kettering boss part of their backroom staff ahead of the new season.
Westwood is understood to have informed Lincoln of their interest and Imps boss David Holdsworth has reluctantly agreed not to stand in the 35-year-old's way.
Although Westwood signed a one-year contract in May, Lincoln are believed to have asked for a pre-season friendly in compensation.
Although the club would benefit financially from that game, it has now forced Holdsworth back into the transfer market to recruit another central defender.
Currently he only has Andrew Boyce and Josh Gowling as recognised centre-backs and Holdsworth is eager to add strength in depth to a backline short on cover.
The former Mansfield boss will get the funds to replace Westwood should he leave, but it is likely he will want another experienced replacement.
With Holdsworth set to go into the season without an assistant manager because of a lack of funds, he wants somebody who can play as well as assist in coaching.
Westwood was a perfect fit for the Imps boss with the ex-Crewe defender having experienced management at Kettering.
But Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton, whose side are preparing for life in League One, wants him to assist Pompey's bid to rise back to the Championship.