Mike Phelan in frame to replace Owen Coyle at Wigan

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan is the early favourite to take over from Owen Coyle after his departure was confirmed by Wigan.

Phelan was in the frame to replace Roberto Martinez at the FA Cup holders in the summer but chairman Dave Whelan opted for the former Bolton manager instead. However, after a poor run of results that has seen Wigan lose four of their last five matches in all competitions – culminating in Sunday's 3-1 home defeat to Steve McClaren's Derby County – Coyle has left by mutual agreement just six months after he was appointed. He is the 18th managerial change of the season in the Premier League and Football League.

"It is with great sadness that we have made this decision and I would like to thank all my football staff and the staff at the club, who have been very supportive of me in my time here," Coyle said. "I am confident that with this set of players, the team can keep moving in the right direction."

Whelan claimed last night that he did not sack Coyle having said he was happy with the Scot's start at the club only a week ago. "I had a meeting with him after the [Derby] match and I told him I was disappointed in his performance, the performance of the team and I was disappointed in the team selection," Whelan said.

"Owen said did I want him to resign. I said 'yes'. If you'll resign, obviously we've got to pay compensation, etc. But I accepted it and he's resigned."

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