Time: 8:00 PM
St. Andrew’s Stadium (Birmingham)
Championship football returns after the international break with a clash between the ever-improving Birmingham City and Wayne Rooney’s Derby County, a matchup the visitors have enjoyed at St. Andrews over the last eight seasons (W5, D3, L0). Whilst Birmingham have lost just once so far in the league (W2, D2, L1), consistency has been an issue with each of their five games seeing a different result to the prior match.
If they are to give their play-off ambitions any substance they’ll need to rectify that and also bring about a dramatic turnaround in home form, where they’re winless in both league games this season and in four overall, failing to score in the last three of those. That was a major issue last campaign too, when they collected more points on their travels than at home.
Whilst these are still worrying times for Derby, they have surpassed everyone’s expectations with a dogged start to the Championship season (W1, D3, L1). The ‘Rams’ began the season with a paper-thin squad and a transfer embargo hanging over their collective heads, though through sheer grit and some shrewd free agents, they may yet defy their status as one of the pre-season favourites for the drop.
Don’t expect an overly exciting affair when Rooney’s men take to the field as they have averaged a joint league-low 1.6 total goals per match so far, whilst a league-high four games produced under 2.5 goals in total. To their credit, they have been reasonably tough to break down, but the fact remains that Derby have failed to win 11 of their last 12 league games (W1, D4, L7).
Players to watch: Boyhood Birmingham fan Troy Deeney is in line for a debut here and he could get the Tilton Road End rocking should he score a third career goal against Derby. Meanwhile, Derby’s Tom Lawrence marked his return from injury with a goal inside of 15 minutes last time out.
- Birmingham’s form in last 5 matches: DLWLD.
- Derby’s form in last 5 matches: DLDWL