Whelan delighted as Bruce lands at Wigan

Dave Whelan feels he has landed "one of the best young managers in the land" after paying Birmingham £3million in compensation for Steve Bruce.

Wigan chairman Whelan told Sky Sports News he was "delighted" Bruce had joined Latics and confirmed that Birmingham would receive £3million in compensation.

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"When Paul Jewell decided he was not going to come back I was a little bit disappointed but Steve Bruce is the guy we wanted," he said.

"I'm delighted we've got him, I think he's a big loss for Birmingham and a big signing for Wigan Athletic."

Whelan added: "He'll be a fantastic signing for Wigan Athletic. He's one of the best young managers in the land, I'm delighted we've got him and he'll bring enthusiasm, knowledge and spirit to our team.

"We have a good team now, we have some good players. We've had some bad luck with injuries and when Steve comes in I know he will want a midfield player and maybe a striker - and I will be backing him exactly the same way I did with Paul Jewell."

Whelan added: "We've got to do the right thing for Birmingham and (co-owner) David Sullivan has been a good and honest man all through the dealings."

The Wigan chairman admitted he is hoping Eric Black, Bruce's assistant who is in temporary charge at St Andrews while the club seek a new manager, will also move to the JJB Stadium.

Whelan said: "I understand Birmingham have got a short-term problem in that there is uncertainty in terms of who is going to own the club - if people want to buy the club they should get on and do it.

"But we would like Eric Black to come as our assistant manager, I am confident we will get him but I understand he has got to stay there for a week or a fortnight. But he will be coming to us."

On Bruce's previous stint with Latics, at the end of the 2000-01 season, Whelan added: "I was annoyed when he walked away but I didn't give him a contract and he came for the last six weeks of season.

"He did a super job and got an offer from Crystal Palace which he wanted to take. I was disappointed to lose him but I'm delighted he's come back to us.

"My message to the fans is 'support your team'. We need every bit of support we can get but we've got a brilliant manager now and together we have to make Wigan what it once was - a fighting team.

"Under Steve Bruce we know Wigan will be a fighting team.

"What he earns he deserves - he will keep us out of relegation problems and all the fans will be delighted we've got him."

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