Steve Bruce was watching from the stands as Wigan lost to Arsenal yesterday.
Caretaker-boss Frank Barlow, who could be replaced on the coaching staff by Birmingham's Eric Black, said: "It has been a difficult week for everybody, the players included. There has been a hesitancy about Steve's arrival.
"The performance today gives our supporters belief that we have passion for the shirt and we want to play.
"Steve can get a certain amount of encouragement from that. He has to build on that."
Barlow added: "You want to bring your own man and if Eric comes in then he comes. That is Steve's decision and won't lose my friendship from him."