Chris McCann told FL72 that Stuart Pearce could be managing a Premier League club next season.
Pearce, 51, will take over as Nottingham Forest boss on July 1, once Gary Brazil – in caretaker charge following the dismissal of Billy Davies – has overseen the final few matches of the campaign.
Forest have failed to win any of their last nine Championship encounters – losing five - and subsequently slipped a place and two points shy of the play-offs.
But injured Wigan midfielder McCann says the East Midlands outfit will be boosted by the imminent return of club legend Pearce and could reignite a push for the top flight.
“He is a feisty character, to say the least, and will be hoping to come in and make a big impression,” McCann said of Pearce, who played 401 league games for Forest between 1985 and 1997.
“But Forest are obviously still going strong for the play-offs this season and I'm sure [Stuart] will be hoping when he takes charge they will be a Premier League club.
“They have not been on a great run of form but the appointment will give everyone a lift.”
Wigan have profited from Forest’s slump, with a run of one defeat in 11 propelling the Latics into fifth place and six points ahead of the side Pearce will assume control of in the summer.
And McCann says Uwe Rosler – described by Wigan’s 2013 FA Cup Final hero Ben Watson, as a “perfection seeker” – has made a huge impact since becoming manager at the DW Stadium in December.
“The boss is animated on the touchline and that makes you determined to go the extra yard on the pitch,” said McCann, who is currently sidelined with a multiple fracture of the right kneecap.
“He has probably brought something to the team that we didn’t have before. We are certainly more solid and our run up the table shows that.
“On a different day I think the boys could have taken three points and not just a point last time out from a Leicester team that have been fantastic and are top of the league, so that will give us confidence.
“But I don’t think you can take your eyes off anyone down to probably Brighton in ninth [who are seven points behind us].”