Malky Mackay sacked: Wigan part company with manager after Derby defeat leaves them doomed

Wigan Athletic 0 Derby County 2: Club says no decision has yet been made in terms of a new appointment

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Wigan Athletic ran out of patience with manager Malky Mackay and sacked him following today’s 2-0 home defeat by Derby County. The Championship strugglers, who won the FA Cup but were relegated from the Premier League in 2013, are eight points from safety with five games of the season remaining.

Mackay took charge in November but Wigan have recorded only 19 points from a possible 72 since.

“This is a very difficult decision to make but I feel that, for the long-term future of the club, there needs to be a change now,” Wigan’s chairman, David Sharpe, told the club website. “I wish Malky all the best for the future.”

Mackay is still under investigation by the Football Association for allegedly sending racist and sexist text messages when he was Cardiff manager.

Derby’s manager, Steve McClaren, admitted that automatic promotion is probably beyond his side now, even after the return of talisman Chris Martin inspired their hard-earned victory.

Martin’s 20th goal of the season, supplemented by a ninth in 13 matches for former England striker Darren Bent, made the journey worthwhile for the 4,145 Derby fans, who had not witnessed a win since the last week of February.

But McClaren conceded that the damage done in the interim, when Derby picked up only three points in seven matches, had almost certainly put paid to their hopes of winning a place in the Premier League via the direct route.

“It’s a long shot,” he said, surveying a league table that shows Derby five points behind second-placed Norwich City, with only five matches remaining. “We have got to win the next five games but we have no control over it. It was vital for us to win today and all we can do is concentrate on the next game. It’s out of our hands.”

Derby have been a different proposition without Martin, who missed 10 matches with a hamstring injury, during which time Derby won only twice. The 26-year-old striker was introduced at the start of the second half and needed less than six minutes to score his 20th goal of the season.

Flicking the ball wide to Johnny Russell on left, he checked his run to make himself space for the winger’s return pass, shooting past Ali Al Habsi from just inside the box. Bent made the points safe nine minutes from the end after neither Al Habsi nor defender Jason Pearce could deal with another Russell cross.

Derby had struggled in the first half, their passing game ill suited to a bumpy pitch. They managed only one meaningful shot and had to thank goalkeeper Lee Grant for denying the home side the lead, tipping a header from James McClean over the bar after the winger made good with a cross from the excellent Kim Bo-kyung.

Wigan Athletic (4-4-2): Al-Habsi; Boyce (McCann, 63), Maguire, Pearce, Bong; Kim Bo-kyung, Perch, Kvist, McClean; Clarke (Waghorn, 75), Fortune (Murphy, 65). Substitutes not used Carson (gk), Pennant, Ojo, Barnett.

Derby County (4-2-3-1): Grant; Keogh, Albentosa, Forsyth, Warnock (Christie, 88); Hendrick, Hughes; Russell, Ince (Dawkins, 90), Ward (Martin, h-t); Bent. Substitutes not used Roos (gk), Lingard, Whitbread, Hanson.

Referee S Hooper (Wiltshire).