They are not gone yet. But with each dropped point it looks increasingly likely that Wigan’s stay in the Premier League is coming to an end.
If that is the case, manager Roberto Martinez has a big decision to make.
Should he stay at the club that has so far managed to keep him despite interest from some of the country’s biggest sides? Or should he leave the DW Stadium for pastures new?
If the answer proves to be the latter – and if David Moyes fails to sign a new contract at Goodison Park – the queue for Martinez’s services should be headed by Everton.
Talk of Moyes’ future will continue until he either signs a new deal or leaves at the end of his present one.
In many ways, the Everton manager is the most hypothetically-placed of any currently serving in the Premier League.
He is talked of as a potential replacement for the likes of Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. He has been told – at least by countless newspaper headlines and gossip columns – that his time at Everton is reaching an end; although he has been told that for years and still he remains.
But something about this season suggests it may really be his last.
Of course he may just be refusing to enter into negotiations until the current campaign is done. Or he may finally be considering a fresh start elsewhere.
And while some fans will declare it a disaster, Martinez could make the transition a smooth one.
In the past the Spaniard has said no to Aston Villa and to Liverpool. And they are just the ones we know about.
Dave Whelan, his chairman at Wigan, didn’t stand in his way. But so far he hasn’t needed to.
Martinez is acutely aware of hazard signs. He avoids clubs where the promise doesn’t match the reality.
But at Everton he would know exactly what he was walking into. He would be entering a stable environment with an outstanding squad. And while the funds are limited they are similarly so at Wigan and his previous side Swansea.
Apart from the League One Championship with the Swans, Martinez’s trophy haul is minimal. But his achievements must be measured by his circumstances. When he does finally leave Wigan, they won’t just be losing a manager, they will be losing their heart.
He is, in many ways, the fairy tale manager, giving small clubs a home among the biggest.
Perhaps this season will be his greatest but most bittersweet achievement yet, should Wigan win the FA Cup but lose their top flight status.
Like many things in football, this is a story of ifs, buts and maybes.
And yet one day both men will leave their current clubs. Everton would do well to replace one with the other.
Can you see David Moyes leaving this summer? And would Martinez be a good replacement?
image: © illarterate