Jonathan Jackson is confident Wigan Athletic can retain ‘the core’ of the squad that will give them the best possible chance of bouncing back from the ignominy of relegation to League One.
After a season of struggle, Latics finally dropped back into the third tier at the weekend, losing 1-0 at Reading as relegation rivals Birmingham and Blackburn were both winning. It means an immediate return to League One, which Latics won last year under Gary Caldwell, before things unravelled at the beginning of this term.
Caldwell’s replacement, Warren Joyce, lasted only four months, while interim boss Graham Barrow was also unable to turn things around.
That leaves Latics seeking a new manager ahead of next term but, whoever it is, Jackson is confident there will be a strong squad to take the club on.
“There will be some changes in the squad, but we want to keep the core there,” revealed the Latics chief executive.
“We believe we’ve got a group of players that can be successful in League One, and take us back to the Championship.”
Five players – Jussi Jaaskelainen, David Perkins, Gabriel Obertan, Jordan Flores and skipper Stephen Warnock – are out of contract, while there is also sure to be interest in Nick Powell and player of the year-elect Dan Burn.
The most important call of the summer will be the appointment of a new manager, and Jackson says the search is already well under way.
“The summer is going to be busy in terms of appointing a manager,” he added.
“The way things have panned out this season, we have had the luxury of a little bit of time to look into a process to find the next manager and appoint the right person.
“We’re going to take a bit of time to do that, and make sure we get the right person.
“We have a shortlist of people and we’ll be working on that shortlist.
“We’ve been looking at a number of factors so we’ll take our time, but that will be something that will be done by the end of May, early June.
“In our own mind we know the type of manager we want, and that’s hopefully the person that we’ll appoint.”
Former bosses Caldwell and Uwe Rosler are understood to be on the shortlist, along with Oxford boss Michael Appleton and Luton manager Nathan Jones.
However, former Manchester United No.2 and Hull City boss Mike Phelan is not is the running.