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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 17:23 GMT
Wigan eye Jewell as 'top choice'
Chris Hutchings, Dave Whelan and Paul Jewell
Hutchings, Whelan and Jewell were in it together six months ago
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has told BBC Radio 5 Live that former boss Paul Jewell would be his top pick to fill the vacant manager's post.

Jewell, who said this week he would consider a return to Wigan, has been linked with the job since Chris Hutchings was sacked on Monday.

Asked whether Jewell was his number one choice, Whelan answered: "Absolutely.

"If he applies for the job, I'm certainly interested and would love to talk to him."

Speaking to 5 Live Sport, Whelan added: "Paul did say he'd be looking to get back into management around Christmas time when he resigned as our manager.

After six months away I am ready and willing to return to work

Paul Jewell
"If Paul Jewell is interested in the Wigan job then I'm interested in Paul Jewell. I've had a great relationship with him at Wigan Athletic.

"What news you're giving, I'm delighted with - and if he's interested I'll be talking to him certainly."

However, Whelan was quick to dismiss reports linking Graeme Souness with the club.

"I've not spoken to Graeme for three years," he said. "I've never spoken to him at all about being the manager of Wigan. How that story's come about is a mystery to me."

Souness also insisted no contact had been made, adding: "I've not spoken to anyone at Wigan, but it would be a good job for someone because you would be dealing with a football man in Dave Whelan."

Whelan's comments came after Jewell told Metro newspaper: "I'm surprised to learn I have been offered my old job back. I've had no contact with Wigan.

"But after six months away I am ready and willing to return to work. I will consider any offers that come my way."

Jewell resigned as Wigan boss in May, less than 24 hours after saving the Premier League club from relegation on the final day of the season.

He claimed he was absolutely drained and needed a break from football.

The 43-year-old had been in charge of Wigan for six years and in that time guided the club to the League One title in 2002-03, and in 2004-05 they finished runners-up to Sunderland in the Championship to reach the top flight for the first time in their history.

606: DEBATE

Wigan surprised many by finishing 10th in their first Premiership season and they also reached the Carling Cup final.

Jewell admitted at the time of his resignation that it was extremely difficult to walk away from Wigan and it now seems he might be putting himself back in the frame.

He revealed: "I needed a break as the job consumes you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"I firmly believe I will return to football refreshed and a better manager.

"Talk of me returning to Wigan is a little awkward because me and Chris Hutchings are really good friends.

"I am doubly disappointed it has not worked out for him because of our relationship and the fact I recommended him for the job.

"I haven't spoken to him yet, as want to let things die down a bit before I call him.

"In the meantime I'm going to continue enjoying playing golf until I get a better offer."

Jewell has also been linked with the jobs at Leicester City and, before Gary Megson was appointed, at Bolton Wanderers.

Other names being touted as candidates for the Wigan job are Peter Reid, Joe Royle, Alex McLeish and Swansea City's Spanish manager Roberto Martinez.

But Wigan caretaker-manager Frank Barlow has ruled himself out of the running to take the job on a permanent basis.

Whelan added: "I've left (general manager) John Benson in charge and we'll get shortlist of three or four and then we'll start interviewing in the next 10 days."

  • Wigan keeper Carlo Nash will be out of action for three months after undergoing surgery on his right ankle, which he broke during a training session last week.


  • SEE ALSO
    Barlow not chasing Wigan boss job
    06 Nov 07 |  Wigan Athletic
    Hutchings sacked as Wigan manager
    05 Nov 07 |  Wigan Athletic
    Barlow named as Wigan number two
    27 Jun 07 |  Wigan Athletic
    Tuesday's gossip column
    06 Nov 07 |  Gossip
    Wigan 0-2 Chelsea
    03 Nov 07 |  Premier League
    Birmingham 3-2 Wigan
    27 Oct 07 |  Premier League
    Wigan 0-2 Portsmouth
    20 Oct 07 |  Premier League
    Hutchings wanted Jewell to stay
    15 May 07 |  Wigan Athletic
    Wigan name Hutchings as new boss
    14 May 07 |  Wigan Athletic
    Jewell resigns as Wigan manager
    14 May 07 |  Wigan Athletic


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