Bruce admits he will struggle to keep Zaki and Heskey

Heskey’s contract with the club expires in the summer and Zaki is only on a 12-month loan deal with the club.

Bruce said: “I can’t stop the speculation or get paranoid. Zaki is ours until June and that is for sure. That deal is there.

“We are in the box seat, just like with Emile as well because we have nine months to persuade them that their future lies here. If we don’t manage to pull that off then my job becomes more and more difficult.

“Managing Wigan is going to have that down side, unfortunately.

“If it had been 10 years I would have been stripping the walls shouting ‘leave them alone’ but you have got to try and put a level head on it.”