Nick Powell's early goal kept Wigan two points clear at the top of League One as they opened 2018 with a 1-0 win over Northampton.
Powell struck after just five minutes and that ultimately proved the difference between the sides to keep the Latics clear of Shrewsbury at the summit and leave Northampton in the relegation zone.
It did not take long for Wigan to make their quality tell as Gavin Massey's right-wing cross was met by the onrushing Powell who planted his powerful header out of the reach of Matt Ingram.
Brendan Moloney's goal-saving challenge denied Will Grigg a second before Chey Dunkley rattled the crossbar from the following corner as Wigan dominated much of the game.
Their lead remained just one at half-time, though, and Chris Long threatened an equaliser when shooting wide straight after the restart.
Grigg was again off target at the other end in a more even second period but Northampton could not find an equaliser and Wigan extended their unbeaten run to 10 games.