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Preview: Derby County v Blues

Despite not winning against Preston we are still a very solid team and a team that is growing week by week and we want to put that on the pitch.

Pep Clotet.

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture against The Rams at Pride Park.

Pep Clotet on what the mood amongst his players has been following their first home league defeat of the season last weekend...
"Very positive despite the game on Saturday when we didn't get result. The training has been fantastic. I see a squad that is motivated on moving forwards. Despite the result we put in a good performance. We know there are a few things that we need to be better at particularly at home. We realise the mistakes but there are still a lot of positives from Saturday, we nullified the opposition and they only had one half chance on our goal. We know we have to do more and better. But I see the mentality in the squad, and they’ve put in a really good week of training ahead of Derby to make sure a good performance is backed up with a good result."

Pep Clotet on his side playing three games in less than a week...
"I think everyone needs to be prepared to know that it is very important to keep the team performing well physically. This is more important than any personal preference regarding how many games are played. What I like from this squad is I think everyone understands there are no individual agendas and everyone sacrifices for the team - when we have three games in a week that is even more important. We will assess it game by game but that said we only think about Derby."

Pep Clotet's take on Derby as a team...
"They've got a lot of quality in their squad. It's been a tough place for us to go in the last few years. Last year we lost 3-1 there and it was a tough day. This season at home although they have not won yet, I've seen a lot of the games they've played. I remember their first game of the season against West Brom. West Brom are a strong team and they didn't manage to win. Neither did Swansea and Cardiff. Although it's a very tough place to go, we go there with a lot of motivation. Despite not winning against Preston we are still a very solid team and a team that is growing week by week and we want to put that on the pitch."

Derby Manager Phillip Cocu's comments ahead of the game...
"The incident (the crash in which several Derby players were involved in on Tuesday evening) has had an effect on the team and we have had to deal with it with short term notice. because Saturday is a very important game. We've lost an important player in Richard (Keogh) and we have to deal with it together, but we need to focus on the game on Saturday as well. At every club I've played at and managed you face incidents of some kind and it's how you deal with them and trying to deal with them in the right way. We need the fans to support us to get the right result against Birmingham. It would be the ideal time to get that first home win. But it will definitely be a difficult game against Birmingham because they are very strong and a difficult team to play, so we need to focus on the game. We cannot underestimate any opponent especially now, but if we can get a win and some good results in these next couple of weeks it can change a lot inside of the team."

Blues team news...
Jefferson Montero (thigh) and Maikel Kieftenbeld (knee) remain sidelined. Jonathan Grounds played the first-half for Blues Under-23s earlier in the week but needs further game time before being considered for first team selection. Connal Trueman (knee) is out for around a fortnight.

Derby team news...
Defender Richard Keogh will miss the remainder of the season after sustaining a serious knee injury in a car crash on Tuesday evening. Derby boss Phillip Cocu says he has yet to decide if Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett will be considered for selection against Blues, following their involvement in the same incident. Jayden Bogle is available to play after recovering from an ankle injury. Andre Wisdom and Craig Forsyth are likely to be given additional game time with Derby's Under-23s before being considered for the first team following their recoveries from knee injuries. George Evans and Ikechi Anya remain sidelined.

Last five meetings between Derby and Blues...
Championship 19 Apr 2019 Blues 2 Derby 2
Championship 03 Nov 2018 Derby 3 Blues 1
Championship 13 Jan 2018 Blues 0 Derby 3
Championship 23 Sep 2017 Derby 1 Blues 1
Championship 08 Apr 2017 Blues 1 Derby 2

Total meetings between Derby and Blues ...
Derby wins: 46
Draws: 36 
Blues wins: 40

Line-ups last league game...
Leeds United v Derby County (4-2-3-1): Roos, Lowe, Keogh, Clarke, Malone; Bielik (Paterson, 61), Huddlestone, Waghorn, Holmes, Jozefzoon (Knight, 83), Marriott (Martin, 73).
Subs (not used): Hamer, Dowell, Davies, Buchanan.

Blues (4-4-2) v Preston North End: Camp; Colin, Roberts, Dean, Pedersen; Crowley, Davis (Villalba 79), Sunjic, Bellingham (Maghoma 61); Mrabti (Gimenez 61) Jutkiewicz.
Subs (not used): Harding, Clarke-Salter, G Gardner, Stockdale.

BluesTV...
BluesTV will be streaming the match live to International Subscribers. Those in the Great Britain and Ireland can get exclusive audio commentary. Match commentary will be provided by Dale Moon and Jonathan Bell. Please click here to access BluesTV.

Match officials...

Simon Hooper will take charge of the game. So far this season the Wiltshire-based official has refereed three games where he has produced a total of nine yellow cards, but no reds. The last Blues game he refereed was also a Sky Bet Championship fixture against Derby in April 2019 at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium. That match ended in a 2-2 draw with Gary Gardner, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Che Adams booked for the hosts, with Ashley Cole, Craig Bryson and Martyn Waghorn cautioned for The Rams. Mr Hooper has taken charge of 16 Blues games in total, three of which we have won, three we have drawn and 10 we have lost. His record refereeing Derby is 18 games in total, with The Rams winning seven, drawing four and losing seven of them. Mr Hooper will be assisted on Saturday by Dan Cook and Darren Cann, with Peter Wright acting as the fourth official.

Tickets...
Blues have now sold out of our full allocation of 3,145 tickets for this game.

Supporter message...
The Club urges all supporters to be responsible in their behaviour and actions. Birmingham City knows that the overwhelming majority of our supporters do not indulge in anti-social activities and are passionate about the players and the Club. We appreciate this. We adopt a zero-tolerance stance on anti-social behaviour and spectator misconduct. This includes - amongst other things - drunkenness, throwing of missiles and use and carrying of pyrotechnics (flares, smoke bombs), racist and/or homophobic chanting. Pitch encroachment is forbidden and against the law. Please DO NOT encroach onto the pitch. Any person found to be encroaching on the pitch will automatically be served with a banning order - regardless of the circumstances. It is important that bottles, coins, flares and other items not thrown at our matches. Again, we would like to thank the overwhelming majority of supporters for their backing and their understanding.

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