It’s no surprise Port Vale’s continental football failed so miserably
DERBY boss Steve McClaren admitted he wants to bring striker Chris Martin back from Fulham during the January transfer window after watching his side fail to break down the defence of struggling Wigan.
Martin is on loan in west London but has made no secret of his desire to return to Derby, having made himself unavailable for Friday’s match at Reading.
McClaren said: “I’ve said since day one that I would welcome him back. I know Chris and I was disappointed he wasn’t here when I came. I’ve said all along that if there’s any possibility of bringing him back in January we’ll do that. He would have been a big asset for us here – I know what I want so we’ll have to wait and see.
“They caused us problems but we addressed them at halftime. In the second half the only problem we had was breaking them down and getting that all-important goal.
“Teams are going to come here and make it hard for us and we are going to have to learn to be patient.”
Defensively Derby were as solid as ever – they extended the club record for clean sheets at home to eight in a row and are still yet to concede at the iPro Stadium since the return of McClaren in October.
However, Wigan came close to breaching the home defence several times during the first half. The visitors were a constant threat on the break and were unfortunate not to take the lead.
After forcing a corner from a tenth-minute break, Will Grigg hit the Derby post with a bobbling effort and Jake Buxton saw his shot from the rebound cleared off the line.
Five minutes later Scott Carson did well to claw away a Michael Jacobs header. And the Derby keeper was forced into an even better save from Grigg after the Northern Ireland international pounced on Will Hughes’s loose pass and raced in on goal unopposed.
The trickery of left-back Ikechi Anya created Derby’s best chance of the half but Johnny Russell’s drive was inches over the bar.
The second half saw the visitors retreat and further still allow Derby to dominate both possession and territory. The Rams struggled to find penetration though, with misplaced passes slowing down their attacks.
A set-piece looked their best hope of taking the lead and Tom Ince came closest with a 64th minute free-kick.
His dipping delivery could not beat Wigan keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, the 41-year-old Finn rolling back the years to deny Ince at full stretch and help end his side’s five-game losing run.
Wigan manager Warren Joyce said: “I’m disappointed we didn’t capitalise on the chances we created in the first half. I’m disappointed but scoring goals is a hard thing to do.
“I would never criticise people for missing chances, it is better that we’re creating them. We’ve got to be more ruthless in finishing them and that will make it a lot easier to manage games. But we have proved we are better against the better sides.
“It is a credit to the players that they have dusted themselves down and shown they have a lot of pride in the football club.
“They want to stay in this league after all the hard work last year to get here.”
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