Stars come out for Barrow

Graham Barrow and Callum McManaman after the 2013 FA Cup final

Graham Barrow and Callum McManaman after the 2013 FA Cup final

Graham Barrow fully intends to ‘repay the faith’ shown in him by Wigan Athletic – not to mention a few club legends.

The 62-year-old, who took over as interim manager on Monday following the sacking of Warren Joyce, is aiming to hit the ground running with three points against Aston Villa this weekend.

And several familiar – and famous – faces will be willing him on to do just that.

“It’s nice the club has trusted me, and I think the supporters trust me as well..and the players do,” Barrow said.

“I’ve had some great messages from Callum McManaman, Shaun Maloney, Ben Watson, James McArthur, Roberto – showing faith in me, which is very complimentary.

“I replied to them all: ‘How are you fixed for Saturday?!’

“But it’s great to get those messages, and I’ve got to justify that faith – starting Saturday.”

Having enjoyed an association with Latics spanning over three decades, it’s underlined how much the club still means to Barrow.

“It’s that kind of response that explains why I’m still here after all this time,” he revealed.

“I’ve had many opportunities to leave – when Roberto went to Everton he asked me to go with him.

“I spoke to Jonathan (Jackson) about it, and he told me: ‘The players here want you to stay’.

“I said: ‘The players want me to stay?’ What about the club? He said: ‘The chairman wants you to stay as well’.

“Gary Caldwell, who was then club captain, and a few of the other senior players like Ben, James, Callum – who’d seen a lot of people leave the club – went to the chairman and said: ‘Graham’s not going’.

“Once that was said, it was a no-brainer, and I think that’s worth everything for me.

“A lot of people make a lot of money out of this game, but that to me means more than any amount of money.

“I didn’t want or expect to be in this position.

“But I am the one person at the club with the most experience.

“It’s been all change this week. When I’ve been walking the dog, I’d had people stopping their cars, asking: ‘Are we staying up?’

“I’m proud of what I’ve achieved here, and I want everyone to know that we’re going to be giving it our best, and see where it takes us.”

Latics are six points adrift of safety with nine games to go.