Date: 12th January 2018 at 10:26am
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Birmingham City host Derby County tomorrow afternoon on the back of their best run of the season. Three successive victories, all with clean sheets, has lifted the spirits of the St. Andrews faithful.

Yet it cannot be forgotten that Blues are in the middle of a relegation battle and tomorrow`s clash represents a difficult challenge against a side currently occupying second spot.

Undoubtedly, Gary Rowett`s return will be the sideshow. After his sacking just over a year ago, Blues have declined. Three managers have arrived and departed, numerous players have dipped their toes in and out of the water and many fans still haven`t fully forgiven the club for taking such drastic and controversial action.

It was well documented that Rowett was eyeing up other jobs while he was holding the reigns in B9. He shouldn`t be criticised for that just like me and you wouldn`t be criticising for seeking a better opportunity. But we also shouldn`t waste any tears over him because, in my mind, if he hadn`t have been sacked, he eventually would have left of his own accord.

All that is water under the bridge now. He has moved on and Blues are trying to move on.

Three points is more important than welcoming back an ex-manager. I have nothing against Rowett but I hope tomorrow is as intimidating and torrid as it can possibly be.

In recent weeks, Blues have been organised and hard to beat. While the team isn`t exactly scoring goals by the hatful, they are posing a threat when venturing forward.

Jacques Maghoma`s return to the team has coincided with the upturn in form. Mags receives a lot of criticism in some quarters but you can`t fault the effect he has on the team. Simply put, Blues are a better, more cohesive unit, when he is involved.

But the mitigating factor of late has been the array of options from the bench. Che Adams` return from injury has offered another string to the attacking bow – assuming he isn`t sold to balance the books. The aforementioned Maghoma has been in a rich vein of form, resulting in Jota having to kick his heels from the side-line. The time will come when Jota will show Blues fans why the club invested so much money in him and Blues will be the main beneficiary.

I started this piece by mentioning the spirits of the fans being lifted. Regardless of how long that lasts for – and Blues could well be smashed back down to earth by 5pm tomorrow – we now live in hope that the team can survive. Hope has replaced the resignation, the acceptance that the club were heading for League One.

So for tomorrow, forget about a certain manager in the opposing dugout. Welcome him with a polite applause if you must but when the game kicks off, Mr. Rowett is an irrelevance.

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