Mac attack after week which rocked Latics

Wigan Athletic v Derby County:  James McArthur
Wigan Athletic v Derby County: James McArthur

JAMES McArthur says Wigan Athletic’s players are fully focused on getting three points on the board against Leeds United tonight.

Coming off the back of three defeats in just over a week, as well as losing their manager, the players will have a job on their hands.

Graham Barrow will take charge at Elland Road, assisted by Sandy Stewart, as Latics look to stop the rot and start the climb back up the table rather than carry on the slide.

Distractions off the field will obviously play no part in helping the players with speculation mounting about who is to take over from Owen Coyle.

The latest name to enter the mix is Gary Megson. Reports today suggest that the former Bolton boss is interested in the job but he lies way down in the pecking order when it comes to favourites.

Mike Phelan is still the shortest price with bookmakers while former Blackpool manager Ian Holloway threw his hat into the ring last night by declaring his interest.

“Am I interested in the Wigan job? Yes, of course I am,” said Holloway.

“The way they play, their players, their style of football, I am a big fan. Unfortunately it is not up to me. If it was, I’d give it to me now. The question is, are they interested in me?”

That’s a question which Dave Whelan must answer as he mulls over the applications. However, he is still at the beginning of the process.

For the players though, it’s business as usual and McArthur says the team is relishing the trip to Elland Road tonight and the chance to put things right.

“The good thing is we are straight back into it now with another game so soon,” said the midfielder.

“We need to start picking points up, that’s important. We’ve obviously got a game in hand and it’s a must win to get us back in the position where we can be within touching distance.

“All the goals against Derby were preventable and we need to stop conceding those silly goals but we will make sure we learn from it going into the Leeds game.”

McArthur was speaking to the Evening Post shortly before Coyle left the club after meeting Whelan.

Since then, no player has been available for interview while there has been a Twitter silence from the squad following the manager’s exit.

Talking about the match which sealed Coyle’s fate though, McArthur spoke of the half-time team talk which led to Wigan’s mini revival after the break.

“He tried to encourage us and obviously told us what was wrong and we had to try and rectify that,” said the 26-year-old.

“It was very frustrating. It was a game of two halves really, we didn’t start well so we let them take the momentum.

“It was great character for the boys to come out at 3-0 down and to have a chance of trying to get something from the game.”