OWEN Coyle has won the race to become Wigan Athletic’s new manager.
The former Bolton boss was in a two horse race with ex-England manager Steve McClaren to take charge of Latics’ mission to return to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Coyle, 46, guided Burnley to promotion to the Premier League in 2009 and was approached to manage Celtic but turned the job down.
In the 2010-11 Premier League season, Coyle guided Bolton to a 14th-placed finish but the Wanderers were relegated the following season, and was sacked in October 2012 following a 2-1 loss to Birmingham City.
Coyle’s playing career spanned 12 years from 1985 to 1997 and saw him appear for 14 different clubs including Bolton, Dundee at St Johnstone.
Dave Whelan has spent the last week interviewing candidates to succeed Roberto Martinez, now at Everton.
Though there has been no official announcement from the club as yet, chairman Dave Whelan confirmed there was an agreement in principle in place.
Whelan said: “He has got a belief in Wigan Athletic and I can feel that.
“He’s done it all before, he took Burnley to the Premier League. He didn’t have great success at Bolton but I’ve got to say that out of all the candidates who applied I just thought he was the best.
“It should all be signed off today, his agent is here today talking to Jonathan (Jackson, Wigan Athletic chief executive) to get the deal done and he will be operating as of tomorrow morning.
“There is a lot of work to do because we’ve got something like 55-56 games next season and we are short of 8-10 players.
“Steve (McClaren) was a very, very good candidate. It was a very difficult choice between three or four of the candidates who applied.
“The application was above 40 so it has been a trying time.
“I’m not right all the time but what you’ve got to try and be is right most of the time.
“With selecting managers, it’s sort of a finger in the air and hope for the best.
“With Owen, I just thought he was an excellent, excellent choice.
“If anybody can get us back into the Premier League, I think Owen is the man to do it.”
It is understood Coyle will be on a one-year rolling contract.