Derby County managed to register a stoppage time equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw at Wigan Athletic on Boxing Day, to end a run of six successive defeat away from home in the Championship.
Phillip Cocu’s side headed into the game looking to secure a first league win on their travels since an opening day win at Huddersfield Town, while they were also searching for a first win six league matches since a 1-0 win at home to Preston North End last month.
However, the Rams struggled to create many clear cut chances throughout a tight contest against Wigan, and it looked like they were heading for another defeat on their travels when Joe Garner found the top corner after being set up by Michael Jacobs, before Martyn Waghorn hit an effort which deflected off Cedric Kipre and into the goal in the third minute of injury time.
Here then, we take a look at THREE things we learnt about the Rams following their draw at Wigan…
Derby finally end away goal draught
The most important thing to come from the Rams’ 1-1 draw at Wigan was Cocu’s side finally ending a long wait for a goal on their travels in the Championship, with Derby having failed to score a single goal away from home since a 2-2 draw at Barnsley back at the start of October.
That run has largely been characterised by the Rams lacking in creativity and struggling to find ways back into matches when they have found themselves behind, but against Wigan Cocu’s side showed fighting spirit to keep going and pressing for an equaliser, after falling behind nine minutes from time.
Waghorn’s late equaliser should provide Derby with a spring board to go on and start picking up more points away from home, and Cocu’s side will be needing to show the same fighting spirit in their next matches on their travels if they are to end their wait for an away win.
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Max Bird shows his quality
Bird was handed his first appearance in the Championship this season for the Rams, when he came off the bench just before the break to replace Krystian Bielik, who was taken off after picking up a yellow card early on having committed a few fouls after he had been booked.
The 19-year-old delivered a composed and mature performance during the second half, helping the Rams retain possession in midfield, as well as offering protection to the defence when Wigan were pressing for a breakthrough, and that will have shown Cocu that he is ready to make an impact on the first team.
Bird was able to help the Rams cope without Bielik in the second period, and the midfielder will have done his chances of earning more first team minutes no harm with his performance against Wigan in the second 45 minutes.
Derby needing more from their centre forwards away from home
Despite managing to get themselves a late equaliser to halt their run without scoring away from, the Rams are still in need of more from strikers on their travels, with Chris Martin unable to really impact the game during the hour he was on the field against Wigan.
The forward was not given much service but also struggled to offer much of a threat to Wigan spending most of the game in front of their defence and not really stretching them in behind, while his replacement Jack Marriott also struggled to really make an impact during the final half an hour.
Cocu’s side are in need of finding centre forward who can offer more of a threat in behind defences away from home, so that they can run into the channels and allow the Rams to get up the pitch when they are being put under pressure, and that is something which the Dutchman could have to find in January.