Gary Caldwell was chosen as the man to lead Wigan Athletic, and his dugout debut comes tonight when the Latics travel to Craven Cottage to play Fulham.Wigan are in the Sky Bet Championship relegation zone on 35 points from 41 matches – eight points from safety with five fixtures left, including their visit to the capital this evening.
Their opponents Fulham are nine points better off, sitting 20th, so they're one of the teams that Wigan can catch in their bid for survival, highlighting the significance of the meeting.
But one thing was clear when the club announced Caldwell's hiring; this is an appointment for the future.
Latics chairman David Sharpe couldn't have been clearer, telling wiganlatics.co.uk: “This is very much a long-term appointment, this isn’t until the end of the season, I’m not judging Gary on the next five games, I’m judging him in the long-term and he’s determined to prove why we want him so badly.
“It’s a bit of a free-hit for Gary in that he’s got nothing to lose, we’re eight points adrift, if he keeps us up it will be a miracle but you never know in football.”
If Caldwell is to perform the 'miracle' Sharpe speaks of, a win against the Cottagers is paramount.
But Wigan haven't got the better of Fulham since October 2008, when an 83rd-minute Henri Camara goal gave them a 1-0 away win.
The Cottagers have taken the points in six of the 14 meetings since, with the other eight ending level, including last time around when they played out a thrilling 3-3 draw.
It may look bleak for the Latics but one thing's for sure; the new manager will be doing everything in his power to lift the gloom at the DW.
“It’s a club that means a lot to me; I’ve been here over five years now, I’ve had some great times and I’m really looking forward to the massive challenge ahead.”