JAMES McArthur remains hopeful there will be no player exodus at Wigan Athletic this summer.
It looks as though Latics will require a new manager this summer after Roberto Martinez told chairman Dave Whelan he wanted to leave the club.
The Spaniard is widely expected to take over at Everton as David Moyes’ successor.
And the rumour mill has already gone into overdrive surrounding which Wigan players will be following their old boss to Goodison Park.
McArthur accepts it’s only natural that there will be speculation at this time of year.
But he does not feel it’s a given that Wigan’s prized assets will be following their manager out of the exit door.
“A lot of players are being linked with moves, and deservedly so, because even though we’ve got relegated we’ve still had a good season with the FA Cup win,” McArthur told the Evening Post.
“But from our point of view, the key is to try and hold on to as many players as we can, and we’ll see where that takes us.
“We’re obviously all disappointed at being relegated, but we’re also looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.
“We’ll have a lot more games next season in the Championship and in the Europa League, and hopefully we’ll be able to add a few more players to the squad rather than lose a few.”
Despite the Premier League campaign having concluded 11 days ago, McArthur and his Scotland colleagues have yet to finish their commitments.
There is the small matter of a World Cup qualifier in Croatia to negotiate next weekend before McArthur, Shaun Maloney and Gary Caldwell can reach for the sun cream and beach towels.
And McArthur believes the Wigan squad have to leave all of their frustrations on the beach – or avoid next term becoming a massive hangover.
“It needs to be that way – there can’t be any feelings of disappointment lingering around the place,” McArthur recognised. “We need to start well, we need to hit the ground running because we want to get back up as quickly as possible.
“It’s started to sink in what’s happened, and that will continue throughout the summer.
“We’ll look forward to next year, though, we’ll do our best to try and get back to the Premier League.”
McArthur also recognised the importance of the Wigan fanbase to next season’s promotion assault.
The campaign may have ended on a low point, with relegation confirmed after the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal on May 14.
But the Wigan players were given a standing ovation at the end of the game in a real show of solidarity from the terraces.
And the scenes before, during and after the season-ending clash with Aston Villa – as well as the open-top bus tour the following day, when 30,000 lined the streets to show their appreciation – show the belief is still there among the supporters.
“The fans stuck by us to the end and that was very important,” the former Hamilton man added.
“Some clubs’ supporters would have turned on their side, but the Wigan fans didn’t do that.
“We’re in it together here at Wigan, and everyone is a part of that.”