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By ESPN Staff

Jewell gives Royle seal of approval for Wigan

Former Wigan manager Paul Jewell feels Joe Royle 'ticks all the boxes' to be the next man in charge at the JJB Stadium.

Jewell, who left the club in May, revealed last night he had rejected a 'fabulous' offer to succeed Chris Hutchings, his former assistant.

The club are now looking for someone else to fill the role, with former Oldham, Everton and Ipswich boss Royle believed to in the frame.

Jewell added: 'Whoever takes the Wigan job has a good enough squad to get out of trouble. Joe has been there, seen it and done it.

'He is a very experienced man, and he ticks all the boxes. But there are a lot of managers who are out of work, and they have got a decent list to choose from I should think.'

Jewell was clearly the man Dave Whelan wanted after he had expressed an interest in returning to management.

He left Wigan in May after a 1-1 draw away to Sheffield United on the final day of last season ensured their survival in the Premier League and has had an extended break from the game.

'The chairman called me last week and made me a fabulous offer and I said to him that I would stick to what I had said in May,' Jewell told Sky Sports News.

'I have had my time at Wigan, I enjoyed it immensely and I think it's time for myself and Wigan to search for pastures new.

'I wish them nothing but success, and the most important thing now is keeping them in the Premier League.

'I am very proud of the fact that when we were there, we took them from the third tier of English football and left them as a Premier League club which no one would have believed before we went there.

'I've got a unique relationship with the football club and the chairman and I think I have done well for them. I want to leave it at that.'

Meanwhile, Emile Heskey is aiming to return to action against Arsenal in Wigan's first match after the international break.

The England striker is in training again after recovering from a foot injury sustained against Fulham in September.

Former Liverpool star Heskey is hopeful of being available to play against the league leaders on November 24.

'I've got to take it one step at a time,' Heskey told the club's official website.

'I've been told I'm going to feel a few twinges now and again, and that it's going to take a while for everything to get back to normal again.

'For a start, I'm six weeks behind on fitness, and although I've been in every day and keeping up my strength in the gym and in the pool, nothing's the same as being out there on the field with the players.

'There have been quite a few changes too while I've been sidelined, with the manager [leaving] and the way results have gone, so it's been doubly frustrating that I haven't been able to play a part.

'Now we'll see what happens next. I'm hoping to be available for the next game, but we will have to see how things progress over the next week or so.'

Meanwhile, MK Dons manager Paul Ince has distanced himself from speculation linking him with Wigan by insisting he is at the League Two leaders 'for the long term'.

The former England midfielder's name has been associated with the vacancies at both Wigan and Coca-Cola Championship strugglers Preston in the last 24 hours.

But after the 2-0 Johnstone's Paint Trophy win at Bournemouth last night Ince insisted he had no desire to leave stadium:mk and has plans to take the club into the Championship.

He said: 'I want to make a name for myself at MK Dons, I've been given a great chance by the chairman here.

'When I see the players playing the way they are, the spirit and the togetherness we've got at this club, the passion of the chairman and where we want to go with this club - why would you want to move?

'We're here for the long term, we've got a long-term plan and we want to take this club where we think it belongs.

'Winning games like at Bournemouth and the ones we've got in the coming weeks gives us half a chance of getting there.'

Dons chairman Pete Winkelman is delighted with the progress Ince is making and is looking forward to extending their working relationship.

'When you're in the lower leagues and you have a manager with the qualities of Paul Ince then everybody will come chasing him in time,' he said.

'Whilst you can never say what's going to happen in football I'm very comfortable that Paul sees his future at the club.

'I hope that we can maintain that relationship so that he can get the things he needs from the club to move forward in his career.'