Plymouth Argyle have denied Championship rivals Stoke City permission to speak with Tony Pulis regarding their managerial vacancy.
The Potters are one of several Football League clubs in the market for a new manager after Dutchman Johan Boskamp departed The Britannia Stadium after an acrimonious past season.
The news comes less than a year after Pulis was surprisingly sacked by Stoke's former Icelandic owners, who sold their stake in the club to former Stoke chairman Peter Coates this week.
Pulis went on to succeed Bobby Williamson at Home Park back in September on a 12-month rolling contract before helping to consolidate Plymouth's place in The Championship.
With Coates keen to have Pulis back in charge of The Potters, the re-appointed Stoke chairman made a formal request to the Devon outfit, but without success.
"I have received a request from Stoke City for permission to talk to our first-team manager Tony Pulis," Plymouth chairman Paul Stapleton told the club's official website.
"That permission has not been granted.
"No-one at the club will make a further comment on this situation until and unless circumstances change."
Meanwhile, Stoke youngsters Carl Dickinson and Keith Thomas have returned from their unsuccessful loan spells with Icelandic club Vikingur a month early.