CHRIS HUTCHINGS, left, kicked off the season by leading Wigan to the top of the Premiership, and could end it by starting to plot Town’s escape from League I.

He’s among a group including former Brentford, MK Dons and Leicester boss Martin Allen and ex-Town players Ronnie Jepson and Chris Beech who have made public a definite interest in succeeding Andy Ritchie at the Galpharm helm.

While many other names have been mentioned, there’s no doubt Holme Valley-based Hutchings, who played for Town from 1987-1990, ticks a few boxes.

Both his previous managerial stints, at Bradford and Wigan, have been short, but he has played a key role in two promotions, to the Championship and two to the Premier.

Wigan were at the top-flight summit three games into this season, and since departing the JJB in November, the 50-year-old has kept his hand in by helping out his friend Chris Brass when he was caretaker manager at Bury and going to watch a string of matches, including several at the Galpharm.

He’s confident there’s something to work with, saying: “Town have had some great wins, but the league table, showing a similar number of defeats and few draws, confirms there is a problem with consistency to address..”