The blue half of Birmingham could be celebrating after Sunday's big derby clash at St Andrews.
Birmingham v Aston Villa - Sunday 12:00, Sky Sports 1
In theory, a second-city derby against an unstable Aston Villa side is precisely the sort of game where all of Birmingham’s hard work over the past two years under Gary Rowett should pay dividends. When the tempo is helter-skelter, the team with the most capable of playing on memory should invariably prevail. Take the 2/1 available on the home win.
Aston Villa might have taken a couple of baby steps towards a bright short-term future under Steve Bruce but they are a long way from being forever cured of the mental frailties that have plagued them in the opening three months. The jitters could resurface at any moment and the suspicion is that Blues will be testing every aspect of their character from the first whistle.
Few managers at this level can identify an opponent’s Achilles heel and exploit it in the opening 20-30 minutes of a match quite like Rowett. He always attempts to the seize the initiative early on at St Andrew’s and if his video analysis is up to its usual standards, there’s additional value in the Birmingham/Birmingham half time/full time bet at 4/1.
But where Blues differ most this season from last is in their ability to compound the damage. They have more options in the forward positions and should Villa find themselves behind and chasing, Rowett can look to his bench and find the right instrument to finish the job. Stick a sepculative point on the Birmingham 3-1 correct score at 28/1.