WIGAN Athletic have appointed former Cardiff boss Malky Mackay as their new manager on a rolling contract.
The 42-year-old replaces Uwe Rosler, who was sacked last Thursday with the Lancashire club currently languishing in the SkyBet Championship relegation zone after winning just three of their 17 league games so far this season.
Despite guiding the Bluebirds to the Premier League, Mackay left the Welsh outfit last December after a dispute with owner Vincent Tan – before details of allegedly offensive text messages sent to Cardiff’s former head of recruitment Iain Moody were made public.
“I know that this appointment will draw criticism in some quarters but we go into it with our eyes open and we have nothing to hide on this subject,” said Wigan chairman Dave Whelan, according to the club’s official website.
“I believe that it is now time to move on. Contrary to the way he has been portrayed in recent months, the Malky Mackay I met this week, and who has been vouched for by the many different people from whom we have sought advice before making this appointment, is an honourable man.
“He is a committed family man with decent values and is a professional who has worked and thrived for over 20 years in the multi-cultural world of modern football. There is nothing more to say about this subject, and as far as I am concerned we draw a line under it from today.“
Mackay – who described being asked by Whelan to take the job as “an honour” in his first press conference – also confirmed that Graham Barrow, Eric Black and goalkeeping coach Mike Pollitt will stay and work with him as part of the backroom team.
The former Celtic, Norwich and West Ham centre-back began his managerial career with Watford before replacing Dave Jones in the Cardiff hotseat in June 2011.
He guided the Bluebirds to 2012 League Cup final – where they lost on penalties to Liverpool – and the play-off semi-finals before winning the Championship title in 2013-14 and earning the LMA Manager of the Year award for the second-tier.
But controversial Malaysian owner Tan gave Mackay his marching orders after a 3-0 home defeat by Southampton on Boxing Day which left Cardiff one point above the Premier League drop zone.
Mackay was the leading contender to fill the post vacated by Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace at the start of the season but has now landed the managerial role at the DW Stadium, where he is tasked with turning the fortunes of the Latics around.
His first game in charge will be at home against high-flying Middlesbrough on Saturday as Wigan, who are targeting promotion to the Premier League at the second time of asking, seek to mount a revivial similar to last season’s charge towards a fifth-placed finish.