Sky Sports EFL pundit David Prutton has suggested that Birmingham City will be held to a draw at St Andrew’s by Derby County tonight when the two sides go head to head.
It has been an encouraging start to the campaign for Birmingham so far with the Blues heading into the game knowing that a win would take them up into the top four in the Championship overnight at least.
However, the Blues did not manage to win either of their last two games ahead of the international break, with them losing at home to Fulham and then being held to a 1-1 draw away at Barnsley last time out.
Having said that a return of eight points from their first five matches is not a bad one for the Blues and they will now hope to get back to winning ways against Derby.
There will be a lot of focus on the new arrival of Troy Deeney, but Birmingham’s other new signings this summer have already shown that they can make a major impact for them in the Championship this term.
Derby, meanwhile, head into the game in much better spirits than many would have been predicting at the start of the season.
Wayne Rooney’s side suffered just one defeat in their opening five matches and managed to pick up six points out of a possible 15.
The Rams were frustrated not to have picked up their second win of the season last time out, with Nottingham Forest scoring late on to take a point from their clash ahead of the international break.
However, Derby would have taken their current points return at this stage when the season began and it is vital they keep on plugging away and getting results where they can.
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Making his latest round of predictions for Sky Sports, Prutton suggested that Derby can once again frustrate their opponents and he backs them to hold Birmingham to a 1-1 draw.
He wrote: “Whether he starts or not, all eyes will be on Troy Deeney as he makes his ‘return’ to Birmingham City on Friday night. With his experience and know-how, he will contribute on and off the pitch in what is turning into a promising season for the club.
“Derby have had a couple of weeks to dwell on that late equaliser they conceded against Nottingham Forest. The squad is threadbare, but the resilience and commitment is there. I’ll back Wayne Rooney and his side to grind out a draw.”
This is a game that should be very tight and difficult to find a winner.
Birmingham have a deeper squad and that might prove to be vital late on in the game. That is because Bowyer can potentially make more changes to his side to try and settle the contest in his side’s favour.
Having said that, Derby have been coping brilliantly so far with their threadbare squad and the likes of Phil Jagielka and Curtis Davies have been giving them a real solid foundation to build from and pick up results.
You could see this game being close to call and a mistake at either end of the field could well settle the contest at St Andrews.
Birmingham’s extra quality and squad depth might just be the thing that tips the game in their favour.
However, you would not be surprised if Derby managed to pick up another positive result and show more battling qualities in this one.