Derby County vs Birmingham City preview: How to watch, kick-off time, team news, predicted lineups and ones to watch
Jason Knight of Derby County scores his team's fourth goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Birmingham City and Derby County at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Blues have put together a much-needed run of five games without defeat, leaving them on the brink of second-tier survival.

When Derby County succumbed to Reading and Norwich City earlier this month, Wayne Rooney would have been confident that his side would respond in the following double-header against Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End.

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However, further setbacks against those sides have left the Rams just four above the relegation zone, at risk of being overtaken by Rotherham United and Sheffield Wednesday.

With the latter to come on the final day of the campaign, Rooney and his squad are under pressure to get a potentially decisive victory on the board before welcoming the Owls to Pride Park.

Derby have collected just one win from their last 12 outings, while Rooney has been left frustrated with four goals being scored in 540 minutes of action.

Their next opponents have also struggled in the final third throughout this season with Birmingham's back line the main reason why they are currently away from the drop zone.

Nevertheless, Lee Bowyer is getting something extra out of this group of players with 14 points being recorded from his seven fixtures in charge.

Bowyer was left frustrated with conceding a last-gasp penalty to Nottingham Forest in midweek, but the result has given The Blues a 10-point advantage over 22nd position.

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Barring an unlikely set of results, Birmingham are already safe, although their likely survival will not stop Bowyer from trying to move as high as 14th place over the coming weeks.

Lewis Grabban's spot kick on Wednesday night prevented The Blues from posting their fifth successive clean sheet.

  • Form guide

The hosts suffered a debilitating 3-0 defeat away to Preston in their most recent fixture. Ryan Ledson, Ched Evans and Ben Whiteman were all on the scoresheet for the home side.

Birmingham played out a 1-1 draw with Forest. Grabban scored a late penalty to snatch a point for the visitors after Marc Roberts had put Birmingham ahead.

That draw saw The Blues remain in 19th spot, having accrued 49 points from 43 matches so far. Derby are two places below, with just four points separating them from the drop zone.

Derby County Championship form: L W L L L L

Birmingham City Championship form: L W D W W D

  • Team news

The hosts have five players sidelined by injury. Teden Mengi (hamstring), Lee Gregory (hamstring), Jordan Ibe (hamstring), Krystian Bielik (ACL) and Curtis Davies (Achilles tendon) are all unavailable for selection.

The selection of Martyn Waghorn is likely to be one of several changes made by Derby boss Rooney.

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Lee Buchanan, George Edmondson and Louie Sibley are also pushing for starting roles with Andre Wisdom and Craig Forsyth among those potentially missing out.

The visitors have two injury concerns for the trip to the East Midlands. Jon Toral (hamstring) and Alen Halilovic (ankle) are both unavailable for selection.

With Scott Hogan expected to be sidelined through injury, Bowyer could hand a start to Blues winger Jonathan Leko.

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The short turnaround may also lead to Riley McGree and Rekeem Harper being considered for a place in the first XI.

  • Predicted lineups

Derby County (4-2-3-1):

Marshall (GK), Forsyth, Clarke, Wisdom, Bryne, Shinnie, Bird, Jozwiak, Lawrence, Roberts, Sibley.

Birmingham City (3-4-1-2):

Etheridge (GK), Pedersen, Roberts, Dean, Seddon, Sunjic, Gardner, Colin, McGree, Jutkiewicz, Leko.

  • Previous meetings

The two sides have met on 125 occasions in the past and Derby have a better head-to-head record.

The Rams have 49 wins to their name, while Birmingham have 40 victories. The sides played out a draw in 36 previous games.

Their most recent meeting came on 29 December 2020 when a rampant Derby decimated Birmingham 4-0 away from home.

The visitors have been in fine form of late and a five-game unbeaten run has boosted their survival hopes. Derby have lost four games on the bounce which has seen pressure mount on Rooney.

  • Manager's comments

Wayne Rooney 

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Derby County manager Wayne Rooney has made it clear that he wants a response and a reaction to Derby County’s disappointing defeat at Preston North End in midweek.

“It is a massive game for us and one which we are very well prepared for,” Rooney told RamsTV.

“We are ready, the players are ready. The players know my disappointment in the performance against Preston on Tuesday and they have responded well in training.

“It is on them now to respond well in the game as well.”

Rooney added: “My team is ready; my starting line-up is ready and the bench is ready. The players who are fit are ready to play and they will do everything in their power to win the game.”

Lee Bowyer

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Birmingham manager Lee Bowyer insists there will be no let-up in the standards of his team with just three games remaining in the Sky Bet Championship season

Addressing the press via Zoom from the Trillion Trophy Training Centre, the 44-year-old is expecting a tough test in the East Midlands despite Derby’s current predicament.

Speaking about Derby and his expectations, the Head Coach said: “I am surprised where they are in the league because of the squad they have, but injuries can hurt you. I know it won’t be easy, they are fighting – I’ve watched their games.

“They got a good result against Luton.

“It’s going to be tough and they are a much better side at home than away. Our standards can’t drop. If we keep that up, then we will have a chance in any game. I expect nothing less than what we have done in the last seven games.”

  • How to watch

Kick off: 15.00 BST, Saturday April 24.

Live coverage of the game can be found on Sky Sports Football with the build up starting at 14.30 BST. The game will also be available for Derby fans to watch live worldwide on RamsTV or through the Official Derby County App. Birmingham fans can watch via BluesTV with passes available to purchase from both club websites.