Ahead of the encounter with Derby County on Saturday afternoon, football statistics website WhoScored.com
have previewed the fixture.
The welcome of the Rams, rejuvenated under the watchful eye of former England manager Steve McClaren, may well be a daunting one for 17th placed Birmingham, but Derby have won just 1 of their last 4 league fixtures away from Pride Park. More importantly, the Blues are unbeaten in each of their last 5 home encounters with their Championship counterparts, winning 3.
Blues will be understandably keen to extend this run to 6 and the best way to do so is to not concede on Saturday. In that case, Darren Randolph will be expected to play a starring role when 4th placed Derby make the trip to St. Andrew’s.
The 26-year-old joined Birmingham over the summer following a three-year stint with Motherwell and has gone on to make the number 1 spot his own, starting all 27 of the club’s league fixtures this term. Making his debut against Watford, Randolph has taken to English football with ease, epitomised in his average WhoScored.com
rating of 7 this season, the second highest of every regular goalkeeper in the Championship.
A statistically calculated WhoScored.com
strength of Randolph’s happens to be ‘saving close range shots’ and it’s expected that this facet of his game will be crucial at the weekend. Featuring in the top three of every first team shotstopper for saves per game in the Championship this term shows how he’s developed this personal strength.
Should Blues break the deadlock in the fixture, Randolph’s ability in between the sticks is expected to be tested against a Derby side that has netted a league-high 54 goals this season, seeing as Blues boast a team strength of ‘protecting the lead’.
The Republic of Ireland international has become a key member of the Birmingham team on the back of his arrival and his ability will aid their quest to win 3 points against Derby and improve their chances of securing a playoff spot.
The two sides shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw when they met earlier in the season and with home advantage on their side Blues will be looking to go one better this time around.
*The above article is not the views of Birmingham City Football Club but WhoScored.com, a unique website specialising in the in-depth analysis of detailed football data. Provided with unique stats, they compile and create comprehensive analysis on the major European divisions, including live match stats and player ratings. Follow @WhoScored and their editorial assistant @BenMcAleer1 on Twitter.