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Top Championship clash: Five reasons to back Birmingham against Derby highlight five promising punts as Birmingham seek to continue their fine run against the Rams, in a fascinating Friday football fixture

Well-rested Blues to keep eye on the ball
Birmingham City had the rub of the green ahead of this Midlands derby of sorts, able to put their feet up midweek, with much more time to prepare than rivals Derby County.

The Rams were scheduled a crunch clash with fellow Championship heavy-weights Middlesbrough, but could only manage to take a hard-fought point.

As the fresher side, the buoyant Blues are a best market price of 21/10 from Betfred to take the spoils at St Andrew’s.

Goals from all over the pitch
Crucial to undefeated Birmingham’s impressive start to the campaign is that they have been providing threat from all areas of the pitch.

So far midfielders David Cotterill, Jaques Maghoma, Andrew Shinnie and Arsenal-owned Jon-Miquel Toral have chipped in with five of the side’s six strikes across all competitions. While, defender Paul Caddis stepped-up to score a spot-kick for the sixth.

As young Gunner Toral has struck twice in as many Championship outings so far, back him at a terrifically tempting 17/1 with to draw first blood in front of home fans.

Young-guns ablaze anytime
Speaking of the Barcelona-schooled schemer, Toral is also a majestic shout with the same bookies at 15/2 in the anytime market.

The Spaniard should play alongside fellow starlet Demarai Gray, who is priced at 3/1 by bet365, with the promising duo already both vital cogs in the Blues’ attack.

Birmingham have several fledglings who could be thrown into the fray at some point, including teenage attacking midfielder Koby Arthur (4/1) and midfielder Reece Brown.

Defence key against Derby
Despite the talented youth on show, the hosts have experience where it counts. Diligent in defence, where they kept three consecutive clean sheets at the end of last season, Birmingham’s backline will need to be at the races against the Rams. Back them at 5/2 with bet365 to shut out County completely.

Rams signings far from rampant
In contrast to how new Blues signings have settled, Paul Clement’s star summer recruits are yet to make an impact.

None of dangermen Darren Bent (6/1 to score first with Sky Bet), Andreas Weimann nor Thomas Ince (7/4 from Coral to notch anytime) have been on target so far, disappointingly for Derby fans. Can that change at St Andrew’s? betting tip: As the Rams lack potency on the road so far this season, odds of 5/2 from bet365 for a clean sheet sounds cracking

All odds were correct at time of posting.

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