Preview: Blues v Derby County

It’s amazing what a couple of results can do. I am really pleased for them because they are an honest group, they have been honest since the day I walked in.

Steve Cotterill

Blues go in search of a third successive Championship victory when they play host to Gary Rowett's Derby County at St. Andrew's on Saturday (3.00pm kick-off).

Steve Cotterill on his players' performances being rewarded with positive results in recent games...
"I am delighted for them because we have performed as well as that in a few other games and not managed to get results. But until you get the results nobody wants to hear the positive things but that’s what you have to keep hammering home in the dressing room and internally. Thankfully over the last couple of games they have got the rewards for their play."

Steve Cotterill asked if he thought confidence was returning...
"I think I would say that, yes. I think they are certainly more confident now than they would have been three weeks ago. It’s amazing what a couple of results can do. I am really pleased for them because they are an honest group, they have been honest since the day I walked in - nothing has changed as regards that. So, I am pleased that has given them a boost in the last few games, but we need to keep our foot hard down on the pedal and try and get ourselves out of the relegation zone."

Steve Cotterill on the recent goalscoring form of Sam Gallagher...
"Sam in the last few weeks looks like he has grown in confidence a bit more. There has been a fair bit of work done on him on the training ground - as with the rest of the team. I still felt that he might have been better coming from on the left, but he has done great up top, far better than I saw him last and far better than I thought he would have done this year. That’s not putting him down, I just feel he might have been better coming off the left - and he might have only had that opportunity had Che or Isaac always been available. He’s still a threat from the left but he has done great down the middle and I am delighted for him, I just hope he can keep that up - not only the goals but the performances that have gone with it."

Steve Cotterill on the impact that Jacques Maghoma has made...
"He can be effective with the ball at his feet, as with Jeremie Boga, as with Jota. Jacques had a spell out of the team, worked incredibly hard at the training ground, stayed behind afterwards. All of that didn’t go unnoticed when you could say all the other lads had a bit of a loss of form. It was an easy decision to put him in. So well done to him with how he trained."

Steve Cotterill asked if he felt a corner had been turned in terms of results...
"I don’t think we walk around with our head in the clouds. We are pretty much a grounded bunch, I don’t notice anyone walking around or acting any differently just because we have won three games on the belt - to when we perhaps lost three on the belt. Obviously, the mood is better, it always is at a football club when you are winning. Marginally there may be a difference, but we are not suddenly skipping down corridors. There is a long way to go in the season and we are still down there. Three wins won’t make your season, it will certainly help. It’s pretty much head down and carry on working."

Steve Cotterill asked if there was any pattern why you've done better against the better teams...
"No, I don't think so. I think what's happened is that we've managed to get our noses in front in those games and we haven't had to chase the games and we haven't had to be wide open. Getting our noses in front we're pretty organised without the ball and I just think we're getting better now on it and a lot more people are available for selection in key areas if you want to play more football. If you have a look at the players that have come back in the team after long periods out, they've been key to having them all at the same time available to select, which hasn't been the case."

Steve Cotterill on the reception he expects former Blues boss Gary Rowett to get from the home fans at St. Andrew's...
"I would hope he would get a good reception. I am pretty sure he will, put it this way he deserves a good reception. I am sure he is looking forward to coming back and seeing a lot of the faces that he got on well with at the Club."

Derby Manager Gary Rowett's comments ahead of the game...
“We’ve had a good period, but it doesn’t assure us that we’ll continue to pick up results. Our focus is on what’s ahead and not what’s happened. We have to crack on with what needs to be done which is the most important bit. Birmingham have won the last three games so they're on a little bit of a resurgent form, so we're going to have to make sure we're at our very best to get anything again. We know plenty about the place and we know plenty about some of the players and it will be a tough test and we've got to make sure we play as well as we did against Manchester United and as well as we have in the last nine away games in which we're unbeaten, so that's the real focus for the players.”

Blues team news
Steve Cotterill has no new injury concerns ahead of the game. Isaac Vassell (knee) remains out. Defender Emilio Nsue left Blues earlier in the week to join Cypriot Club Apoel FC. Cotterill says that Che Adams is likely to be on the substitutes' bench as he continues to regain his fitness after a hamstring injury.

Derby team news
Bradley Johnson and fellow midfielder Joe Ledley are both injury doubts for the Rams.

Ticket details
Tickets are on general sale to Blues fans. This is a Grade B fixture. Click here for prices and purchasing details.

Key Stats
In the total league meetings between the two sides, Derby have won 39 of them, Blues 34 and 34 have been drawn.
Derby County are unbeaten in their last nine away games (won five, drawn four).
Derby haven't won back to back away league games at St. Andrew's since December 1936.
A Blues win could take us out of the bottom three in the table for the first time since the last weekend in November.

Last five league games
Blues: LDLWW
Derby: WWDWD

Watch and listen live
International BluesTV subscribers will be able watch the game live from St. Andrew's. Domestic subscribers will be able to listen to exclusive live commentary. Click here to sign up to BluesTV.

Match officials
Select Group Referee Lee Probert is in charge at St. Andrew's on Saturday. The Wiltshire-based official has refereed 18 games so far this season, where he has produced a total of 26 yellow cards and four reds. The last Blues game he refereed was our FA Cup third round replay at Newcastle United in January 2017. That match ended in a 3-1 defeat for Blues and there were a total of four players cautioned; including Jonathan Grounds, Ryan Shotton and Reece Brown for the visitors. The last Rams game he took charge of was their 2-0 Championship home win against Aston Villa in December 2017. No players from either side were cautioned in that match. Mr Probert will be assisted on Saturday by Andrew Garratt and Simon Long.

Supporter behaviour
The Club urges all supporters to refrain from anti-social behaviour and conduct themselves in the correct manner at all our games, inside and outside the ground. The overwhelming majority of our support is well behaved, law-abiding and the passionate backing the team receives is greatly appreciated. However, as a Club we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of coins and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. In particular, the throwing of coins and other missiles is extremely dangerous and is not tolerated whatsoever. This is a very serious offence and any supporter identified to have committed this and other such acts will be banned by the Club and subject to the possibility of criminal prosecution. Birmingham City Football Club will continue to work closely with the police, football authorities and ground authorities to stamp out all types spectator misconduct. We would also like to remind supporters that if there are incidents of this nature in the future the Football Association have the power to impose a serious financial penalty on the Club and order matches to be played behind closed doors. The Club urges all supporters to assist us and help eradicate unlawful practices.
Thank you.

WATCH: Steve Cotterill previews Saturday's game with Derby County on BluesTV.