Gary Rowett: Birmingham City boss loves rivalry of Aston Villa derbies

Gary Rowett and Tim Sherwood
Defeat for Gary Rowett's Blues by Tim Sherwood's side in the Capital One Cup in September is one of only four home wins for Aston Villa this season

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett is already looking forward to next season's Championship derby matches with relegated Aston Villa.

Saturday's settling of Villa's fate means that, barring a mathematical miracle required by ninth-placed Blues to earn promotion, there will be a second city derby again in 2016-17.

The two sides met at Villa Park in the League Cup last September.

And Rowett admitted: "I loved the partisan nature of that atmosphere."

Recalling his side's narrow 1-0 defeat, the Blues boss told BBC WM: "It was a fantastic game. It was something different to what I've previously experienced as a manager.

"That's what football's about, that great rivalry. It's about trying to get one over on your rivals so that the fans can walk in at work on Monday with their chest puffed out and have a bit of a boast."

Blues can be prouder than Villa - Rowett

Villa's impending loss of their place in the Premier League will bring to an end a 28-year stay in the top flight, during which time Birmingham have themselves spent just seven seasons in English football's top division.

In terms of pecking order, they also rank behind West Bromwich Albion, who will almost certainly be the West Midlands' only Premier League representatives next season.

But, after spending most of the season in touch with the Championship play-off places, Rowett is on course to better last season's 10th-placed finish with Blues.

And, given the off-field financial handicap the still up-for-sale club have been under since being relegated in 2011, the Blues manager insists that they currently have a lot more cause for pride.

"I'm sure, at the moment, as much as we wanted to swap places with them, I think this side of the city can feel a little bit prouder of what they've achieved this season," added the former Burton manager. "And we want to make sure that leads us to be competitive against sides like that next year."

Gary Rowett was talking to BBC WM's Rob Gurney.

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