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Five options to take Wigan Athletic forward after Malky Mackay axed

On the day Championship basement club Blackpool were relegated to League One, the side directly above them, Wigan Athletic, dismissed manager Malky Mackay after just five wins from 25 matches in charge.

The Latics’ plight looks desperate, as they are now eight points from safety, and Coral now offer a massively odds-on price of 1/10 for them to go down just two years after lifting the FA Cup.

It has been a downward spiral from that glory and eight successive seasons in the Premier League (2005-13), with a few bosses failing to address this slide since.

Wigan are now looking for their fourth manager since Roberto Martinez left for Everton in the summer of 2013, so our football experts ask who can take this tough job on, bearing in mind the Latics look highly likely to be in the third-tier next term?

With no decision as yet made on who will replace Mackay, we’ve got our heads together and assessed five potential ways forward, including four prospective new bosses, for the DW Stadium outfit below:

Nigel Adkins
Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Birmingham City v Reading - St Andrew's

Former Wigan goalie Adkins, 50, infamously suffered a double spinal fracture whilst playing for the club, but still managed over 150 league outings. Moreover, the northwest native has earned three promotions from League One as a manager, which makes him proven at the level the Latics are almost certain to be at next term.

Adkins has got Scunthorpe United and Southampton sides up any way possible; a title win (2006/07) and play-off triumph (2008/09) during almost four years in charge of the Iron before finishing as runners-up with the Saints (2010/11). He has been out of work since being axed by Reading just before Christmas.

Darren Ferguson
Soccer - Sky Bet League One - Peterborough United Play Off Feature 2013/14 - London Road Stadium

Another free agent, legendary Manchester United manager Sir Alex’s son has twice taken Peterborough United into the Championship (2008/09 and 2010/11), but Ferguson junior saw his second spell at London Road end in February after a dismal run.

The 43-year-old has tried to make a managerial move to the northwest before with another Greater Manchester side in Preston North End. His failure to revive fortunes at Deepdale may stick in both his own mind and the thoughts of Wigan’s board.

Graeme Jones
Soccer - Barclays Under 21 Premier League - Division 1 - Everton v Sunderland - Goodison Park

Ex-Latics assistant boss Jones left the DW to join Martinez at Goodison Park in 2013, but could now be the right time to strike out on his own? A prolific centre forward in the lower leagues, he scored over 50 goals in 125 outings for the club.

When working with Martinez at Swansea City, Jones helped the south Wales side to the League One title in 2007/08. He has thus been part of a winning set-up both in the division Wigan are destined to be in next term, and in the DW dugout during their victorious FA Cup run.

Paul Jewell
Soccer - npower Football League Championship - Ipswich Town v Blackpool - Portman Road

Sticking with former Lactics strikers, could old boss Jewell, 50, come back for a second spell? He’s been out of management since October 2012 when Ipswich Town axed him, however, but nobody can take his previous success, including two promotions in three seasons, during six years at the DW (2001-07) away from him.

Promote from within
Within Wigan’s hierarchy there are a number of potential opens in the backroom that could step up.

Assistant boss Graham Barrow, 60, played for the club in the 1980s like Jewell and has subsequently held the manager’s position twice before, first between 1994 and 1995 and then for a couple of games as caretaker in December 2013 between Owen Coyle and Uwe Rosler.

Alternatively, there are two former captains from the modern era on the staff in recently retired from playing and rookie academy coach Gary Caldwell, just 32, plus head of football operations Matt Jackson, 43.