Birmingham defender Paul Robinson is buzzing ahead of the Second City derby on Sunday, but insists that getting the win is all that matters.
The Blues host rivals Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship at St Andrew’s, live on Sky Sports Football, and Robinson can’t wait for the game.
Speaking on EFL Matters on Thursday, Robinson said: “It’s a big derby and everyone looks forward to these games including players, fans and the whole city itself.
“They’re your local rivals so there will always be that little bit of nitty-gritty and there’ll hopefully be a few tackles flying in with both teams wanting to win. But what it’s all about is getting those three points.
“You have to approach it very professionally because you know you’re playing against quality players. Aston Villa have got a strong squad and you’ve got to be wary of what they can do to you.
“But at the same time you’re at home, the fans are right behind you and it gives you a lift. Every derby game you play in gives you a great buzz.”
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Millwall and Birmingham City.
Birm’ham vs A Villa
October 29, 2017, 11:30am
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Steve Cotterill will be taking charge of just his third Birmingham game this weekend, having won his first against Cardiff before losing at Millwall. The Blues are still struggling at the wrong end of the table after a poor start under Harry Redknapp, but Robinson, 38, believes that the new boss has what it takes to get them up the league.
“Steve [Cotterill] is a great character, he’s a very good motivator and he’s just trying to get the players back together again as a group,” he said. “We’ve got 14 new players and he’s had two games to try and find out his best team and formation.
“We’ve worked extremely hard on the training ground and we’ll keep doing that, but the Championship is about consistency and you need to win games week in, week out.”
Robinson and presenter David Prutton were joined on the show by Don Goodman, who believes that the influx of new players at Birmingham may have been a factor behind their poor early-season form.
“You need to generate a togetherness in the dressing room and sometimes that’s very difficult when you’ve got a whole heap of new players,” he said. “You get new players coming in on serious amounts of money, way more than the existing players, and it can cause a division that we’ve seen at several clubs.
“I don’t expect Birmingham to be in the bottom three come the end of the season because the calibre of players there doesn’t suggest a relegation fight. But you don’t play football on paper, it’s about a team ethic and bringing the team together, and Cotterill has all the attributes to do that.”
Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Fulham.
Cotterill will come up against his namesake Steve Bruce on Sunday, the former Birmingham boss who is hoping to steer Aston Villa back into the Premier League. And Robinson knows what a tough task he has on his hands.
“There’s a lot of pressure on Steve,” said the Blues defender. “Aston Villa are a massive club and he knows he’s got to produce. He’s put together a fantastic squad and they look like they’re gelling, but we’ll go into it not afraid and know that we can give them a good game and beat them.
“[Bruce] will be doing his best to wind up his opponents before the game, but that’s part and parcel of being in these local derbies. We know what he’s trying to achieve there and we know he’s got a tough job.”