The Championship side continue their defence of the FA Cup against Manchester City this weekend and, despite the joy and emotion Whelan still feels when reflecting on last May's heroics, top-flight status remains his ultimate goal.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, he said: "Manchester City this weekend will be tough. We were the underdogs against them at Wembley last May and were very, very popular winners throughout the world.
"We are going to go there with intentions of trying to stay in the FA Cup - obviously we will try to retain it - but Manchester City will be looking for their revenge.
"That said, our No 1 ambition this season is promotion back to the Premier League. The FA Cup is special, but the main priority for us is the league, the finest league in the world.
"We have a great team spirit at the moment, our boys are full of confidence and hopefully we can get into the play-offs to give us a chance to return there.
"And in Uwe Rosler, we have a totally, totally brilliant manager. He is straight down the line, straight to the point and makes the players train seriously hard.
"He has been a revelation for us and has put everything back together again. Since he arrived, we have played great football."
Whelan was speaking from the Wigan Youth Zone, a project he is hugely proud to have played a major role in setting up.
The facility - which he affectionately calls the Wigan Boys and Girls Club - offers a number of activities and classes to as many as 8,500 members from around the local area. It was set up in partnership with Technogym and the venture is now recognised as a centre Inspired by London 2012 with youngsters able to work with the equipment used by the stars of the Olympics.
"I used to go to Wigan Boys Club and three of us in the town decided we needed this facility so we got together, put the money forward, and built this," he said.
"The Prime Minister came to open it for us and he reckons it is the best he has ever seen in his life.
"It's more than just sports here. We teach the girls cooking, teach them hairdressing, the kids play football, table tennis, we have a brass band, dancing classes, it's absolutely wonderful for the youngsters of Wigan.
"We now have 8,500 members and this place is packed every single night and every weekend. It is a magical place and we could do with one of these in every town and every city throughout the UK."