Boro first up for new Wigan boss Mackay

Wigan manager Malky Mackay during a training session at Christopher Park
Wigan manager Malky Mackay during a training session at Christopher Park
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MALKY Mackay begins his Wigan reign with the club under increasing scrutiny when they host Middlesbrough.

The game comes two days after chairman Dave Whelan was forced to apologise for comments he made about Jewish and Chinese people.

Anti-racism campaign group Kick It Out has questioned whether Whelan remains a “fit and proper person” to run a football club.

“I take those comments with a pinch of salt. If they think I am not a fit and proper person to run a football club, I would strongly object to that,” he told Sky Sports.

“I played football for 15 years in all four divisions, I’ve had massive experience in football, I’ve brought Wigan from the Fourth Division to the Premier League and 18 months ago we won the FA Cup.

“I cannot accept people would think I’d insult them or football in any way, shape or form.”

Mackay is still being investigated by the Football Association after claims he sent texts of a homophobic, racist and sexist nature while Cardiff boss.

“I made a mistake,” he told the Wigan Observer ahead of Saturday’s game.

“I now know that public or private it doesn’t matter.

“I shouldn’t have done it, I made a mistake and I’m moving forward. I’m taking steps to learn from it.

“I’ve got full respect for the FA and what they decide to do going forward. Whatever they decide to do they’re going to do and I respect that.”

The 42-year-old replaced Uwe Rosler, who was sacked earlier this month, with the Latics third from bottom of the Championship.

Elsewhere, leaders Derby go to fifth-placed Watford aiming to extend their advantage at the top and boss Steve McClaren has challenged them to stay there.

“We’ve said to the players ‘it’s your choice - what do you want to do? Do you want to slip back again or do you want to go forward?’” he told the Derby Telegraph.

“We got ourselves to the top last time and kind of let ourselves down.

“I told the players they would work their way back, they would get another opportunity, and two wins have got us back up there.

“Now is the opportunity.”

Ipswich, in fourth, go to second-placed Bournemouth with Mick McCarthy warning suitors off in-form left-back Tyrone Mings.

“He’s on a four-year deal, (until 2017) or something like that isn’t he?” McCarthy told the Ipswich Star.

“So good luck to them. He’s great, but if one of them came in and offered a bonkers amount of money it’s going to turn his head. It does to everybody.

“If somebody comes in with an unbelievable amount of money - if it’s Chelsea, Man United, any of them... Phew, my head would be turned by that and I’m a damn sight older and wiser.”

Norwich, who appointed former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan as first-team coach this week, host Brighton aiming to get their season back on track.

Wolves host Nottingham Forest, Huddersfield welcome Sheffield Wednesday in a Yorkshire derby and Leeds travel to Blackburn.

Charlton face Millwall at The Valley, Birmingham go to Rotherham while fellow strugglers Blackpool and Bolton clash at Bloomfield Road.