Martyn Waghorn signed on a permanent deal from Leicester City this week and his 33rd minute goal was enough to edge past Leeds United at the DW Stadium.
It was not Wigan’s best performance of the season but they did just enough to consolidate their fifth place in the Championship table.
Leeds meanwhile continued their slide towards the lower reaches of the table and have now lost seven of their last eight games.
A dour opening ten minutes was enlivened when Jordi Gomez drove an effort just wide of the post before Nick Powell failed to get on the end of Gomez’s defence-splitting pass that would have put the young loanee through on goal.
Just past the half-hour mark Wigan took a deserved lead. James McArthur drove towards the Leeds area before playing the ball into the path of Waghorn, whose low shot couldn’t be kept out by the Leeds’ keeper Jack Butland.
Former Wigan midfielder Michael Brown seemed to be having a personal vendetta against his former employers and proceeded to carry out a series of petulant and unnecessary fouls. Brown received a booking for a late challenge on Gomez but in reality the midfielder was very lucky not to have been sent off by the interval.
Latics continued their good work early in the second-half with Callum McManaman’s pass finding James Perch at the back post but the wing-back’s effort was deflected over by Jason Pearce.
Waghorn curled a free kick just over the cross-bar from 30 yards as Latics looked capable of adding to their lead.
But as the half progressed the home team sat back and allowed Leeds to have more possession.
Leeds best chance came when Ross McCormack finally managed to evade the Latics back line and to chip an effort from the edge of the area just wide of the goal.
Leeds forced a series of corners and from one Pearce headed over when he should probably have done better.
At the other end Gomez had a glorious chance to get on the score sheet in the final minute of normal time but the Spaniard miskicked his effort well wide following substitute Marc-Antoine Fortune’s neat cut back.
Despite four minutes of added time Latics had done enough to take all three points and they are now unbeaten in eleven games at the DW Stadium.
The other teams in the play-off places will be looking anxiously at Wigan’s inexorable rise under Uwe Rösler. After a disapppointing start under Owen Coyle, they have now emerged as the strongest contenders for promotion during the second half of the season.
Wigan have a huge week ahead, three points against Millwall would put a play-off spot within their grasp and a victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup semi final would secure an epic FA Cup final appearance for a second year.