London: FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic, who were relegated from the Premier League two days after winning their first major trophy, are set to appoint Owen Coyle, the former boss of rivals Bolton Wanderers, as their manager.
"In principle we have agreed a deal," Wigan owner Dave Whelan told Sky Sports News on Friday after concluding his search for a replacement for Spaniard Roberto Martinez, who left to manage Everton.
Bolton and Wigan are local rivals in the north-west of England and Coyle's record of relegation with the former in 2012 and failure to achieve immediate promotion back to the top-flight may go down badly with some Wigan fans. He was sacked by Bolton in October.
"People will remember him from getting promotion at Burnley. He had a tough time at Bolton, some of our fans will remember that too," sportswear and leisure magnate Whelan added.
"He has a belief in Wigan Athletic and I can feel that."
Whelan said the "total and utter priority" was promotion in two seasons despite Wigan appearing in the Europa League next term for the first time.
Scotsman Coyle faces a tough task with players being linked in the media with moves away and fears that fans could now desert a side which shot up the divisions thanks to Whelan's money despite being in a rugby league stronghold.
Coyle's imminent appointment was welcomed by Wigan and Scotland player James McArthur.
"Happy with the new appointment in Owen Coyle, another Scot. Hopefully everyone can get behind him and the team for the new season," he said on Twitter.