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Heartbreak turns to hope for Wigan's McCarthy

JAMES McCarthy's relegation heartbreak will quickly change to anticipation while he waits for one of the Premier League's top clubs to make an offer Wigan chairman Dave Whelan cannot refuse.

Whelan will make a desperate attempt to convince Roberto Martinez to stay and help Wigan bounce back from the Championship when the curtain falls on the season.

But his biggest problem will be to try to hold onto players like McCarthy, Callum McManaman, James McArthur and Arouna Kone.

McCarthy is now on Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Spurs' radar and it is highly unlikely that he will stay at the DW Stadium, even if Martinez can be persuaded to stay in his job by Whelan.

The pair are due to hold discussions following the FA Cup winners' closing Premier League game against Aston Villa on Sunday.

And the 76-year-old holds out hope he could persuade Martinez to remain and lead Wigan's bid to return to the Premier League, after their relegation – following eight years in the top flight – was confirmed with a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal last night.

"At the end of the season what we always do is get together and have a talk. Roberto is so honest and I'm honest with him.


"We put our cards on the table and whatever Roberto says we will accept and we will honour. We'd all love him to stay.

"He's being chased regularly by some very, very big and wealthy clubs around England," he said. "We'll have talks to persuade him, if we need to persuade him because he is a dedicated man."

Martinez was sanguine about the 4-1 defeat by Arsenal.

He said: "It is not one of those moments to be too sad – it is the opposite.

"To have eight years at this level is incredible. We have beaten every top club and financially we are in a strong position. As a Wigan fan, it is a time to be proud of what we have achieved.

"The FA Cup is an achievement we will never lose. It is our first silverware, but it is a real shame it happens in the same season as relegation."