Date: 7th April 2017 at 2:17pm
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While Gary Rowett`s subtle dissection about his departure from Blues certainly adds a slight zest to Derby County`s short trip to St. Andrews tomorrow, the game has a whole bigger meaning for Blues.

The return of the former manager pales into insignificance when compared to Blues` crusade against the dreaded drop. Commonly, 50 points is the magic total required to preserve Championship status – Blues currently sit on 46 – so a win would be gargantuan.

Emotions will undoubtedly be running high among a fan base that will greet the opposition manager with greater adulation than their own.

Rowett has played a blinder during his pre-match interviews – shrewdly taking the spotlight away from his players. His “I never wanted to leave Blues” and “I want to say goodbye to the fantastic fans” comments were genuine but also perfectly timed. In the forefront of his mind will be a plan to dictate the atmosphere of St. Andrews in his teams favour. After the initial ovation, an early Derby goal will unsettle the home contingent and further turn them against Gianfranco Zola. It`s managerial tactics.

The pressure is heaped on Zola`s back. Beating the man he controversially replaced back in December won`t make everything in the garden rosey but it will at least offer a hiatus. A defeat, though, would leave a very sour taste in the mouth and a toxic air around B9.

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