Cardiff City have been boosted as they battle to hold on to manager Malky Mackay, with Roberto Martinez refusing to rule himself out of the running for the Everton job.
Wigan boss Martinez and Mackay are the two front-runners to succeed David Moyes at Goodison Park at the end of the current Premier League season.
Moyes will take over at Manchester United following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson who bowed out of Old Trafford with a 2-1 win over Swansea City on Sunday.
Bluebirds boss Mackay, who masterminded a Championship-winning season in the Welsh capital, declined to put himself out of the running to succeed Moyes when interviewed on television on Sunday night and now Martinez has now done the same.
After lifting the FA Cup on the weekend with a shock 1-0 win over Manchester City, Martinez is now preparing the Latics for their desperate battle to try to remain in the top-flight.
Wigan travel to Arsenal tonight knowing if they lose they will be relegated. Even a draw is almost certain to send them into the Championship.
Martinez was questioned about the link with the Everton job ahead of tonight’s game at the Emirates Stadium, but he insisted he was fully focused on making sure Wigan avoided the drop.
“It is the wrong time to speak about individuals,” was his firm response to the Everton speculation.
Reports in the north-west suggest if Wigan are relegated then Martinez will be formally approached about taking over at Everton.
Should he decline Mackay could well be next on the Toffees’ list with Celtic manager Neil Lennon also in the reckoning.
So whether Mackay remains in the Welsh capital for the Bluebirds’ first top-flight campaign in more than half a century, might well hinge on whether Martinez decides to leave Wigan.
In the past the 39-year-old has been linked with managerial posts at Aston Villa and Liverpool, but has stayed loyal to Wigan.
And Latics chairman Dave Whelan is convinced his manager will stay this time as well, whatever happens down the road on Merseyside.
“Whenever he wants to go I’ll release him immediately, but he’ll only go to a big club and I don’t think Everton are big enough,” said Whelan.
“But it’s Roberto’s decision and if he comes to me and says ‘’I want to go’ I’ll say ‘OK’ because we have such a great relationship.
“The lad’s so honest and I trust him implicitly.”
As far as Cardiff are concerned the likelihood of Mackay remaining with the Bluebirds would seem to increase if Wigan were to drop into the Championship.
Martinez is not expected to stay at the DW Stadium if the club is relegated, but the Latics face a tough test tonight with Arsenal knowing victory would move them back into the Champions League places above arch-rivals Tottenham.
Wigan, famed for their dramatic escapes from the drop under Martinez in recent seasons, are looking for three points to drag others into a relegation dog fight on the final day of the Premier League season this Sunday.