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Blues facing a Ram raid? Derby Preview

Tomorrow sees the visit of the Rams to St Andrews as Birmingham City will look to bounce back from what on paper was a shock defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Derby County

Nigel Clough’s men are on a wretched run of form of late; without a win in six, gaining only two goalless draws and scoring only two goals in that time have seen Derby tumble down the Championship somewhat to 15th place. They haven’t won away in the league since 2nd January when they beat Hull City by a single goal to nil – although it is worth noting that win was the fourth on the spin at the time for Derby.

Jamie Ward is a major doubt for Clough’s men having picked up a thigh strain whilst on international duty for Northern Ireland in midweek. Derby are also without long-term injury victims Brayford, O’Brien and Deeney. They do have within their ranks Spurs loanee Tom Carroll (who I tipped here as a decent loan signing), former Blues keeper Adam Legzdins and 15-year-old striker Mason Bennett, who has already made seven league appearances despite his tender years.

Birmingham City

Blues have been bolstered somewhat in the last week with three new signings; although it has to be noted Cian Hughton has mainly been brought in as cover and is unlikely to feature except in an injury crisis and Caleb Folan has to regain some match fitness having not played since November. Peter Ramage will offer some much-needed defensive cover as Stephen Carr is out for three weeks, and Guirane N’Daw is fit again and may be called on to offer some steel in midfield that was missing against Forest.

I suspect we’ll see Erik Huseklepp start this one; probably paired up front with Marlon King who hopefully will have now fully shaken off his niggly injury that has hampered him in recent weeks. It’ll be interesting to see if Keith Fahey is fit after he pulled out of the Ireland friendly in midweek and if he or Jordon Mutch gets the axe in favour of N’Daw.

I don’t want to say this at all, as I’m convinced that I put the mockers on things last week but this is another game we really, really should be winning. Derby can’t buy a goal let alone a win and Blues have had a week to freshen up tired legs. With the potential of two wingers attacking, a steelier midfield and a defence that has backup in case of injury Blues should be in a very strong position. I’m going to be optimistic and say a 2-0 win; I apologise in advance if we lose.

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