Both teams are expected to be among the front-runners for an instant return to the top flight although, on this evidence, neither will be troubling the Sky Bet Championship’s upper reaches come May.
The hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock, Chris McCann’s header hitting a post while Rangers were aggrieved goalkeeper Lee Nicholls evaded punishment when substitute Andrew Johnson appeared to be pulled back late on.
Latics have experienced a Jekyll and Hyde start to the season, failing to net in the past seven away games but conversely scoring twice in each of their five Championship games at home.
That this contest was on home soil therefore suggested a good omen for Owen Coyle’s men and early on Nick Powell tested Rob Green with a right-foot try which the former England goalkeeper beat away at his near post.
Callum McManaman, who had penned a contract extension with Latics just hours earlier, narrowly missed the target shortly afterwards as he looked to celebrate his new deal in style.
It was, however, far from one way traffic, Jermaine Jenas’ side-footed effort blocked by an offside Charlie Austin and Gary O’Neil calling Nicholls into action from range.
The best chance of the half would fall to Austin too but, just eight yards out, the normally clinical striker miscued when Alejandro Faurlin’s cross found him at the back post.
The half would end in a stalemate as Jordi Gomez’s eye-catching drive flashed past a post.
The ebb and flow was not helped by substitutions for both sides, Niko Kranjcar and Grant Holt both making way.
The latter’s replacement, Marc-Antoine Fortune, found himself in front of goal with virtually his first touch in the second period yet Clint Hill’s brave block nullified the threat.
Fortune’s introduction had provided a spark at least and two glorious Wigan chances fell by the wayside.
First McCann’s point-blank range header hit the post with McManaman then slicing a half-volleyed rebound over the top.
It was symptomatic of a contest lacking in quality and further evidence was provided by O’Neil’s errant pass towards Matt Phillips during a promising Rangers attack.
Coyle attempted to inject some life into his ranks with the double introduction of James McClean and Marc Albrighton, brought in on loan from Aston Villa earlier in the day.
Harry Redknapp responded by instantly calling upon Johnson, who last appeared in August, yet his rust was clearly evident as he poked tamely wide when sent clear.
The misfiring continued, McClean blasting in to the side netting before the game’s first major talking point happened 10 minutes from time.
Johnson got in behind the hosts’ defence and moved wide of the onrushing Nicholls, who appeared to pull him back as he drifted away from goal, however referee Michael Naylor showed no interest in either a free-kick or a possible card of any colour.
In the final throes, McCann’s back-post cross was nodded away by Hill with nobody in a blue and white shirt showing any desire to enter the six-yard box.