Owen Coyle has been handed the dual challenge of restoring Wigan Athletic's Premier League status and his managerial reputation after being appointed Roberto Martínez's successor at the DW Stadium.
Dave Whelan, the Wigan chairman, announced on Friday that Coyle had beaten off competition from rivals including the former England coach Steve McClaren to become the club's new manager, shortly before the 46-year-old's incentivised contract was finalised. Coyle is expected to be unveiled by Wigan on Monday.
The former Bolton and Burnley manager has been out of work since being sacked by Wanderers in October 2012 and emerged as the outstanding candidate from a series of interviews conducted by Whelan this week. Wigan's chairman said: "I thought he was the best candidate we had to choose from. We have had some very, very good candidates and it is never an easy job selecting a new manager because a manager can have good luck or bad luck and you can choose the right one or the wrong one.
"A lot of people in Wigan will have seen Owen Coyle at Bolton and think: 'Ah, Bolton sacked him, why would he come to Wigan?' But they have to know the man and his capabilities and he has got some real good quality. He did so well at Burnley. He got Burnley into the Premier League. The meetings I have had with him have gone very well. He obviously trusts me and I am putting my faith in him. Hopefully, we can fight our way back into the Premier League."
Coyle faces a formidable task to win immediate promotion next year with Wigan, who not only have a Europa League group campaign on top of a 46-game Championship season but are likely to lose several key members of Martínez's squad following relegation from the Premier League. "The priority is getting back to the Premier League," added Whelan. "Europe is not the priority and while we are proud to represent England in that European league, it is not our priority. Getting back to the Premier League over two years is [the priority] and it may take that time."
The Scot's star had been in the ascendancy after guiding Burnley to the Premier League in 2009, switching to fierce rivals Bolton in January 2010 and reaching the FA Cup semi-final in 2011. But a 5-0 defeat by Stoke City at Wembley marked the start of a downturn in Coyle's fortunes that led to Bolton's relegation losing their Premier League status in 2012 and the manager his job with the club 18th in the Championship.