DAVE Whelan has backed Uwe Rosler to emulate the achievements of Roberto Martinez and bring the FA Cup back to Wigan.
Rosler has guided Latics to the last four of the competition they won so memorably last term for the first time.
On the back of the triumph – mixed with the disappointment of relegation from the Premier League – Martinez took the Everton job vacated by David Moyes’ switch to Manchester United.
And after a brief spell under the stewardship of Owen Coyle, Rosler was charged with the task of regaining Wigan’s top flight status, as well as defending their FA Cup.
So far he’s hardly put a foot wrong, and stands 90 minutes away from another FA Cup Final.
Whelan famously had a relationship with Martinez that was more father-son than chairman-manager, such was the bond between them that was started when the Spaniard first arrived at Wigan as a player back in 1995.
But Whelan has also taken an immediate shine to Rosler, who he feels is more than capable of matching the good times enjoyed under Martinez.
The styles of football may be slightly different, with the German preferring to get the ball forward – in a controlled manner – faster than his predecessor.
Whelan, though, believes the proof of the pudding is in the eating – or, rather, the results on the field.
“There is no one way to play football,” Whelan said. “People have different ideas – some of them work, some of them don’t.
“Uwe wants to attack a bit quicker than Roberto, he wants to get his lads forward quicker, and then back quicker.
“But some of his other ideas are very similar to Roberto – he wants his teams fully fit, 100 per cent fit.
“That’s what he wants and that’s what he gets. Roberto was exactly the same, but he had a lot more patience in playing from back to front.
“I can see why Uwe wants to be quicker to attack, because the opposition don’t have all of their players back in position.
“His methods have been successful so far, completely.
“We were so lucky to get this lad. He is 110 per cent Wigan Athletic.
“He’s like Roberto in terms of work-rate. He’ll be in seven days a week, 9-5, 9-6, whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Whelan has been rightly hailed for his patience with Martinez, after famously declaring on his unveiling in 2009 that he would stick with his manager even if Latics were to get relegated.
But the chairman has also shown over the years that he has not been afraid to pull the trigger if he felt things weren’t working – as was the case earlier this term under Owen Coyle.
“At the start of the season, we had a new manager who didn’t have the best of luck,” Whelan explained.
“But football is a ruthless game, and it’s all about the team.
“No individual – whether they’re a player, a manager, a chairman, a director – is bigger than the team.
“And when the time comes, sometimes you have to make some very harsh decisions.
“They might be unpopular at the time, but you have to do it.
“Getting rid of Owen wasn’t nice, but it was necessary for the club.
“And you can’t argue one iota with Uwe.
“Things have changed here dramatically, and it’s all because of what he’s done.
“He runs the team in a completely different way to anything I’ve ever seen – and it’s successful, both on and off the field.
“I get on as well with Uwe as I did with Roberto.
“Obviously I’d known Roberto a lot longer, but Uwe is 110 per cent honest and he doesn’t stand for anything other than 100 per cent effort from his players.
“He’s like a breath of fresh air for us. He really is.”