Wigan’s task of pulling away from the foot of the Sky Bet League One table may have to be done without skipper Joe Garner, who missed the 0-0 draw with Bristol Rovers ahead of his expected departure.
The 32-year-old – Wigan’s top scorer this season with seven – was conspicuous by his absence as the cash-strapped outfit extended their winless sequence to 12 matches and slipped back to rock bottom on the ladder.
“I’m led to believe Joe’s come to an agreement with the administrators that he can leave the club,” admitted acting manager Leam Richardson.
“It’s ongoing at the minute, and I’m sure the club will release a statement with Joe himself as well.
“Joe’s got goals in him, he’s very experienced, he knows his way round a football field.
“To lose him, of course, is a big blow.
“We found out at the beginning of the week, after the weekend.
“Conversations have taken place between him and the administrators, it’s been mutually agreed.”
On the game itself, Richardson is hoping it will be seen as a point gained after securing only a second clean sheet of the campaign.
“I hope it can prove to be a good point at the end of the day,” added Richardson.
“I’ve always been brought up with the thinking that if you’re not going to win a game then don’t lose it.
“I thought the energy of the young lads ran out maybe 70-80 minutes in, and it was our decision then that we didn’t lose any ground.
“Again we had to dig in and work hard, but I thought we thoroughly deserved the draw.
“There’s still a lot to come from this young group, but it starts with honesty and endeavour and they’ve got that in abundance.”
Rovers boss Paul Tisdale liked what he saw from his side – after only one training session in charge.
The visitors came closest to breaking the deadlock, only for Sam Nicholson to twice be denied by goal-line clearances from Curtis Tilt.
“I liked it – I liked the effort, the endeavour, the brightness, the spirit…I’m just disappointed we never scored a goal,” said Tisdale.
“We had plenty of opportunity to pick a pass, and put the ball in the net.
“But after only one day’s training, all you can do is set a tone, and I’m pleased with the response.
“All I’ve done so far is put a framework there, and the players have to apply themselves to that framework.
“Maybe we were trying too hard to score at times, but maybe we needed something more patient and purposeful.
“I have to learn quickly, I need to learn quickly.
“I’m blind a little bit. I was making subs asking the guys next to me ‘Can he do this, can he do that?’.
“But I was very pleased with the way we defended, I thought the two centre-backs were excellent.”