After the sudden dismissal of manager Harry Redknapp, Blues travel to former manager Gary Rowett’s Derby County.
The talk in the build up to the game so far has been about the history between Gary Rowett and Blues. The ill fated appointment of Gianfranco Zola never worked and the recent sacking of ‘arry.
Redknapp’s sacking came as a shock to many but I wasn’t that surprised. Our board’s recent managerial history has left a lot to be desired. Sacking Rowett, employing a manager under Zola that has struggled in previous jobs, failing to sack Zola when relegation looked a certainty shows a lack of genuine football intelligence and honest leadership.
Rowett had Birmingham in seventh place in the Championship table at the time of his sacking. Zola managed only two wins in his twenty-four games in charge and was resigned with Blues staring relegation in the face. Redknapp didn’t set the place on fire this season with 6 defeats in all competitions but he needed time. And time in football is something many do not get, Harry was one of 3 managers to get the sack on the same day.
Rowett has made slightly better progress with his Derby County side. They beat Hull 5-0 earlier in the season and sit mid-table. They will no doubt be contenders for the play offs but may struggle for an automatic promotion place.
Lee Carsley is the caretaker manager and may bring back players that Harry didn’t think were good enough or just did not like, Craig Gardner only signed permanently and wasn’t in the squad for the last couple of games.
As for an 11 for the game, well we can’t really judge Carsley yet.
Our home form has been quite decent this season, beating Hull 5-0, but our general season hasn’t been great so far. We’ve dropped points to teams we should really be beating, and I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if we were beaten here.
I’d be looking to see Joe Ledley start for us in midfield after he signed for us on Wednesday. The sacking of Redknapp might give us a bit more of a psychological boost over Birmingham, but teams always like to play out of their skin after their managers just been sacked (Saw it with Zola to Redknapp) so we’ll see.Cam
The Derby v Birmingham game on Saturday has become a crunch game for both teams but probably not for reasons either set of fans would have hoped for a few weeks ago.
I was asked to preview the game from a Derby point of view, but if you asked me what kind of opposition the Blues can expect on Saturday, the honest answer is I have absolutely no idea. This of course is the crux of our current problems.
After an average start, Derby won two games on the spin only to put in an horrendous performance in a 1-3 defeat at Sheff United. This was followed up with a superb 5-0 trouncing of Hull only for us to then surrender in the Carling Cup to Barnsley and get hammered 1-4 by Bristol last time out.
Derby have lots of players who have been used to possession based technical football which ultimately has failed. Rowett is going for a more pragmatic approach but is only maybe a third of the way through getting the squad where it needs to be to fit his vision. Technically our squad is excellent but in terms of the dirty Championship traits you need, we are very hit and miss and are often too easy to play against. Thus the failed attempt to bring Kieftenbeld in from you guys and the horrendous away form.
If the Blues performances have been anything like your results and you catch Derby on a good day, there is every possibility you could be on the wrong end of a hammering. That said, if you can survive the first 20 minutes or even get the first goal, our long suffering crowd is currently as restless as the teams confidence is brittle and there’s every chance you can get a result.
With Carso now on the bench for Blues and Rowett obviously leading Derby to add to the mix, it should make for an interesting afternoon!Chris Smith
With Harry Redknapp being shown the door, it’s anyone’s guess who Lee Carsley will pick in his first game. Especially after indicating that all players start his caretaker reign with a ‘clean slate’. Jota, Che Adams and Jason Lowe are all unavailable with hamstring injuries and Carl Jenkinson is out longer term after undergoing shoulder surgery. We think there could be a surprise recall for fellow Brummie Craig Gardner and that Michael Morrison and Emilio Nsue may make way.
This week we have broadcaster, journalist and ex Sky man Chris Skudder. Chris picked the following team and predicted Blues to be 1-0 up at half time through David Davis, with Derby levelling in the second half and a full time score of 1-1.
Hard working performance, keeping it tight, Carsley not being terribly ambitious but a rot stopper.Chris Skudder
Played for both
Winger McMinn joined Derby for £300,000 from Sevilla. He had previously played for Rangers and Queen Of The south. He went on to play 123 times scoring nine goals for them before joining Blues. He only stayed one season at St Andrews before moving swiftly onto Burnley. He retired in 1998.
Shotton was born in Stoke On Trent and played for Stoke city from 2007 till 2015. He joined several clubs on loan during his time with stoke and he joined Derby on loan before signing permanently in 2015. After making just 19 appearances he joined Blues. He was a stable part of Blues defence under Gary Rowett and later under Gianfranco Zola. He signed for Middlesborough after Harry Redknapp signed Jason Roberts.
Now with Premier League Bournemouth, Jordon Ibe played for Blues and Derby on loan from his then parent club Liverpool. Ibe was instrumental in the Paul Caddis goal against Bolton that saved Blues from relegation in the 2013-14 season.
Saturday 8th April – Championship
Blues 1-2 Derby County
The last meeting between Blues and Derby was only back in April. It was the first time Gary Rowett had returned to Blues after being sacked. The Rams took all three points away from St Andrews with an own goal from Tomasz Kuszczak after just three minutes giving them the lead and a late winner from Tom Ince, after Che Adams equalised just after the hour mark.
Saturday 9th April 1966 – Division Two
Blues 5-5 Derby County
Way back in 1966, the year England won their one and only world cup, Blues and Derby met in the old Division Two. Joe Mallett was the Blues manager until December before he was replaced by Stan Cullis. It was the first season substitutes were introduced. Blues goals came from top scorer Geoff Vowden, Trevor Hockey, Malcolm Beard (2)and an own goal. A hat trick from Derby’s Alan Durban, one fromIan Buston and another own helped Brian Clough’s Derby take a share of the points.
Saturday 30th November 1895
Derby County 8-0 Blues
One of the earliest meetings between the two clubs was in 1895. In front of around eight thousand people Derby hammered the then Small Heath 8-0. Its still the highest aggregate defeat at the hands of the Rams.
Roger East is the referee for the trip to Pride Park. So far this season he has given out one red and nineteen yellows in his five games. The last time he was in charge was the trip to Queens Park Rangers in 2016.