Derby have suffered a dip in form of late, however they can bounce back with a win at St Andrews on Friday afternoon.
Gary Rowlett is now in the St Andrews hot-seat and he has steered the side to a massive turnaround since his arrival. The Blues have responded to his appointment with five wins and two draws in the last eight matches, however they will struggle against a Derby County side who are looking to turn things around themselves.
A surprise defeat to bottom club Blackpool was the only winless match in their last five outings and they have recorded wins against high-flying Watford and Nottingham Forest of late. Nevertheless, the hosts start this encounter as outsiders, Bet365 offering 12/5 for a home win on Friday.
Derby County have lost their way of late with a solitary victory and three draws from their previous five matches across all competitions. They have dropped from top spot and will be determined to wrestle that coveted position back as soon as possible.
A defeat in the Capital One Cup to Premier League leaders Chelsea was hardly a huge surprise and Steve McLaren has seen his side bounce back from setbacks extremely well, therefore we anticipate that the Rams will return to form on Boxing Day with a win at St Andrews. A win for the visitors is up for grabs at 13/5 with Bet365 and a draw available at 12/5 with the same firm.
Birmingham will pose the visitors many problems however, the Blues proving to be a much improved outfit since the arrival of Rowett, the 6-1 defeat of Reading testament to their attacking and creative style under their new manager. Nevertheless they will need to focus more on defence for this match and the Rams will be looking to spoil the home side’s attractive attacking style of football. Derby possess some excellent attackers in the form of Johnny Russell, Jordan Ibe and Chris Martin and this trio will cause the Birmingham rearguard numerous problems.
Chris Martin scored 25 times for the Rams last season and he has carried that goalscoring prowess into this season with 13 goals to date in just 22 matches. We anticipate Martin to score on Boxing Day and he is attractively priced to do just that at odds of 8/5 at Betfair.
This is certain to be an extremely tight match, Birmingham looking to continue their upward trend and Derby desperate to stay in title contention. Nevertheless we feel that the visitors will dominate this match and as such, the Derby fans will be the ones celebrating at the final whistle.
Our betting tips
Derby win, both teams to score – BetVictor 31/10
Anytime Goalscorer, Chris Martin – Betfair 8/5