By Wayne Veysey | UK Correspondent
Mike Phelan is on the brink of being appointed the new Wigan manager.
The former Manchester United No.2 has held talks with the Championship club and is close to reaching agreement on a deal to succeed Owen Coyle.
Phelan has leapfrogged above Ian Holloway and surprise candidate Neil Lennon in the pecking order and could be confirmed as the new boss by the end of the week.
The 51-year-old took a break from the game following his summer departure from the United coaching staff and is keen to take his first post as a manager.
Phelan claimed last week that he was manager in all but name towards the end of his tenure at United, which coincided with Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement.
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan is believed to favour Phelan above Lennon and Holloway, who left Crystal Palace by mutual consent in October after admitting he was not up to the task of keeping the Londoners in the Premier League.
Celtic manager Lennon is believed to be interested in a move south of the border and Goal understands that the the Northern Irishman is privately keen on managing Wigan despite the apparent step-down from a Champions League club. Coincidentally or not, Celtic were eliminated from the Champions League last week.
Coyle's dismissal was confirmed on Monday shortly after a meeting with Whelan. The former Bolton Wanderers and Burnley boss won only seven of his 23 matches in charge and the Championship club decided to act following the 3-1 home defeat to Derby County, a third consecutive loss.
Speaking on Monday, Whelan said: "It will be a case of who applies and taking it from there; nothing is pre-judged. We'll have interviews after that and take everything into consideration."
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