Owen Coyle believes that Chris Eagles can establish himself as a genuine Premier League player at the third time of asking. The winger got precious few opportunities as a fledgling with Manchester United and then sparked only fitfully for Burnley in their single season in the big time.
"I know him inside out," said Coyle, who signed him for both Burnley and Bolton. "I know what he can bring to the team and I thought he showed me a complete game today."
Eagles has been deployed behind a front two at times at Wanderers. At Wigan on Saturday, he looked far happier out on the right, he and Martin Petrov giving Bolton a width that the Latics struggled to cope with.
He set up their first, troubled a shaky defence repeatedly and, after missing a glaring chance, made sure of three points to lift them off the foot of the table by scoring in injury time.
It should not have been so late before Bolton could relax. Among other missed opportunities was a penalty Kevin Davies drove at Ali al-Habsi.
Coyle admitted that, when that failed to go in, he began to wonder whether his men were going to blow their chance. After a morale-sapping run of six defeats, confidence can be a fragile commodity. "Everyone defended as though their lives depended on it," said Coyle. That applied to David Wheater, back from suspension, more than most, while Nigel Reo-Coker and Darren Pratley were notably industrious in midfield.
As for Wigan, the infallibly optimistic Roberto Martinez insisted they had done little wrong, apart from conceding soft goals; as he knows, that is rather a big "apart from" and it is now Wigan who have six losses on the spin in all competitions. Mohamed Diame's splendidly-struck equaliser aside, they presented little threat, although there was some encouragement in the return, via the bench, of Hugo Rodallega.
Scorers: Wigan Athletic Diame 40. Bolton Wanderers Reo-Coker 4, Ngog 45, Eagles 90.
Substitutes: Wigan Figueroa 5 (Gohouri, h-t), Rodallega 6 (Watson, h-t), Maloney (McCarthy, 74). Bolton Klasnic (Ngog, 83), Gardner (Petrov, 87), M Davies (Eagles, 90).
Booked: Wigan Di Santo, Figueroa, Caldwell, Alcaraz. Bolton Pratley, Robinson, Boyata, Petrov.
Man of the match Eagles. Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Wigan 44% Bolton 56%.
Attempts on target: Wigan 9 Bolton 11.
Referee M Dean (Gloucester). Attendance 17,261.