Football: Kinnear puts trust in new 'Mr Wright' to correct wrongs

Wimbledon 0 Derby County 0
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The Independent Online
Joe Kinnear is counting on the imminent return from injury of his centre- forward Jason Euell - a player he believes is the "nearest thing there is to Ian Wright" - to find the goals that the Dons need to escape the threat of relegation.

Although Derby's Mart Poom was the busier keeper, Carl Leaburn, Wimbledon's pounds 300,000 buy from Charlton, was unable to cap his full debut with a goal. The Dons have now scored just 21 times in their 22 league games so far and Saturday's goalless encounter against Derby left them in 14th place and just two points above the drop zone.

Euell, 20, whom Kinnear believes has an England future ahead of him, scored four times in his six starts before dislocating his shoulder back in October. But like Efan Ekoku, who has been out for two months with an ankle injury, he is now back in training and Kinnear is determined to "throw him straight in", if not in Saturday's FA Cup fourth round tie at Huddersfield then against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough the following weekend.

"Jason is the nearest thing to Ian Wright - he's a bright kid, he's got pace, he can finish and is two-footed," Kinnear said. "We've got high hopes for him. Ekoku has also been out for 12 weeks so we've been without two good strikers and that's all we've been missing, there's nothing else wrong with the side. We just need that cutting edge in front of goal and then we'll be smoking."

Both Kinnear and Derby counterpart Jim Smith believed their sides had created enough chances to win. They were also united in their opposition to the forthcoming Fifa-organised Gold Cup tournament for countries in north and central America that will rob Wimbledon of the Jamaicans Robbie Earle and possibly Marcus Gayle, and Derby of the Jamaican Deon Burton, and Costa Rica's Paulo Wanchope, for up to three Premiership matches.

Wimbledon: Sullivan; Cunningham, Kimble, Jones, Blackwell, Earle, Gayle (Cort, 77), Perry, M Hughes, Ardley, Leaburn. Substitutes not used: C Hughes, Solbakken, Clarke, Heald (gk).

Derby County: Poom; Rowett, C Powell, Yates, Stimac, Wanchope, Willems, Laursen, Burton, Hunt, Baiano. Substitutes not used: Wilkinson, Elliott, Kozluk, Smith, Hoult (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).

Bookings: Wimbledon: Blackwell. Derby: Hunt, Stimac, Yates.

Man of the match: Poom.

Attendance: 13,031.

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