Goals from Britt Assombalonga, Chris Burke and Henri Lansbury maintained Freedman’s 100 per cent start to his tenure in the Forest hotseat, although it was not all good news for the former Bolton boss.
Leading scorer Assombalonga, who took his tally to 15 for the season, suffered what could be a season-ending injury as the stricken frontman was carried off midway through the second half.
Compared to predecessor Stuart Pearce’s rousing reception for his first match in charge at the City Ground, it was a low-key arrival for the tracksuited Freedman, with a smattering of polite applause greeting the Scot’s entrance.
The new Reds boss kept faith with the same XI that started in the 3-2 win at Brighton, while former Forest midfielder James Perch was back for Wigan and captaining the Latics after missing the home defeat to Bournemouth, in what was the only change for the visitors.
The Latics were attempting to address an awful run of just one win in 16 matches and they nearly fell behind inside four minutes when Michail Antonio rose at the far post to meet Burke’s cross, but he headed narrowly wide.
Wigan finally saw sight of their hosts’ goal after 21 minutes, when Karl Darlow palmed away Kim Bo-Kyung’s stinging effort from 25 yards.
Antonio’s 20-yarder was gathered comfortably by goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi, but four minutes later in the 33rd minute, Forest took the lead through Assombalonga, who had been a virtual spectator up to that point.
Burke found space down the right and laid the perfect ball through for Assombalonga, and he never looked like missing as Al Habsi came out to close down the angle.
That goal triggered a brief Forest onslaught, with Lansbury wastefully shooting over from 10 yards and Antonio scuffing an effort wide as Freedman’s men went for the kill.
Wigan kept it at 1-0 by half-time and after two minutes of the second-half, Al Habsi had to be alert to push away Lansbury’s drive through a crowded box.
But two minutes later, Forest doubled their advantage thanks to some great work from Antonio.
He burst through a couple of challenges down the left flank and spotting the unmarked Scot, he delivered a perfect cross-field ball to Burke, who advanced a couple of yards before lashing a shot into the roof of the net.
Wigan were offering precious little and with confidence oozing through the pores of a revitalised Forest side, Lansbury curled a delightful effort into the far corner to give the Reds a three-goal cushion as the clock ticked past the hour mark.
Forest’s joy then turned to concern as Assombalonga fired just wide, but in doing so injured himself and the 15-goal striker looked in a bad way as he was carried off on a stretcher.
That took the wind out of Forest’s sails and Wigan finally discovered some attacking threat, with Leon Clarke nodding Andrew Taylor’s cross wide, before James McClean’s run on goal was halted by the alert Darlow.
But that was as near as Malky Mackay’s strugglers got to breaching a solid Forest rearguard as the Reds moved back into the top 10.