It’s no sur­prise Port Vale’s con­ti­nen­tal foot­ball failed so mis­er­ably

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE: - By Tim Ever­shed

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

SI­LENCE OF THE RAMS: Ja­cob But­ter­field tus­sles with Andy Kel­lett

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