Another home game and another defeat and Malky Mackay’s days as Wigan Athletic manager are surely numbered. Latics might have been unlucky with the two offside decisions but overall they lacked any great conviction and rarely looked capable of overcoming a fairly average Cardiff team.
The desperately poor run of form continues and manager Mackay and his assistant David Kerslake look lost for ideas and unable to have any positive impact on results. Mackay has overseen a massive turnover in playing staff but results have only deteriorated since he took over.
Wigan have only won 2 of his 16 league games in charge and they are now 9 points from safety with 13 games remaining. It was a high-risk strategy to appoint Mackay given his controversial background but the risk has not worked out.
Not only has the team failed on the pitch, but also his appointment has been a PR disaster and has damaged the reputation of the club. Wigan’s relegation to League One looks imminent and now is the right moment for the club and Mackay to part company.
Dave Whelan has not spoken publicly since his FA ban for supporting Mackay but now is the time for a change in direction. If Whelan still has the best interests of the club at heart it is time to bite the bullet and make the change now in preparation for next season.
The club needs to appoint a manager who can change the ethos at the club and re-instill the team spirit that was evident under Roberto Martinez. We need a manager who will not only rebuild the squad but also improve the image of the club and create a new bond with the supporters.
My candidate for the role would be former Latics keeper Nigel Adkins who has been very successful as manager of Scunthorpe United and Southamption. ‘Steady Nigel’ played 155 games for Latics in the 1980’s and early 90’s and has an affinity for the club.
Latics fans named him ‘Steady Nigel’ as they used to shout it when he came for crosses. He knows League One very well and managed to get both the Iron and the Saints promoted from League One to the Championship.
At Southampton he took the club from League One to the Premier League and was very unfortunate to lose his job when the club were in a position above the relegation zone. Adkins went onto manage Reading, but despite finishing seventh in the Championship in his first full season in charge he was sacked after a 6-1 defeat at Birmingham City in December 2014.
Adkins is currently being linked with the vacancies at Coventry City and Peterborough United but Dave Whelan would be wise to act quickly, make the change in manager and interview ‘Steady Nigel’.
This article was first published in the 12th Man column for the Wigan Evening Post on 27th February 2015.