STAR PREVIEW Fri: Birmingham City v Derby County

New signing Troy Deeney could make his long-awaited Birmingham City debut when they return to St Andrews for a Friday night clash under the lights against Wayne Rooney’s Derby County in the Championship.

Deeney, who has made no secret about being a life-long Blues fan during his career, finally joined his boyhood club last week after leaving former club Watford by mutual consent following 11 years at Vicarage Road.

He could be set to make his debut on Friday night – and he looks to be joining a Birmingham side that finally appear to be turning the tide after years of decline.

Former cup-winning midfielder Lee Bowyer took over from Aitor Karanka last season, successfully steering the club away from the relegation zone with a string of impressive results. This season has started brightly, too, with two wins, two draws and one defeat from their opening five Championship fixtures.

Despite some off-field issues still lingering at the club, which includes half the ground currently being closed on safety grounds, Bowyer looks to finally be injecting some good feeling back into Blues.

Birmingham City v Derby County
20:00 Sky Sports Main Event / Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Ultra HD

(Maximum 10 matches)
APR 2021 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 1-2 Birmingham
DEC 2020 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 0-4 Derby
JUL 2020 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 1-3 Derby
SEP 2019 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 3-2 Birmingham
APR 2019 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 2-2 Derby
NOV 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 3-1 Birmingham
JAN 2018 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 0-3 Derby
SEP 2017 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 1-1 Birmingham
APR 2017 CHAMPIONSHIP Birmingham 1-2 Derby
DEC 2016 CHAMPIONSHIP Derby 1-0 Birmingham

In terms of off-field issues though, Birmingham City have absolutely nothing on Derby County who are still trying to navigate through very murky waters under the stewardship of Manchester United legend Rooney.

Their season so far, just like much of last season, has been plagued by ownership problems and EFL charges with Rooney struggling to add players to his depleted squad in the build-up to this campaign.

As many expected, they’ve struggled at the start of this Championship campaign – winning just one of their first five games. And, with very little sign of their ownership woes being solved any time soon, these struggles may continue for some time yet.

These are two clubs that seem to be heading in very different directions. Derby just can’t seem to halt the slide whereas Birmingham, with Deeney leading the line, have a genuine chance of stopping their rot and achieving something this year.

The Blues have an appalling record against Derby over the years, but I don’t expect that to stop Bowyer’s men getting a positive result at St Andrews on Friday night. We’re backing a Birmingham win to nil here.

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⚠️ Stakes advised on a scale of 0-10 points depending on confidence from our preview team

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