Birmingham City: Gary Rowett keeps calm at great Blues start

By Ged ScottBBC Sport
Gary Rowett
Rowett says Birmingham's players have "bought into" his methods since he took charge

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett is determined to make sure his players do not get carried away by their current upsurge in form in the Championship.

Having lost just once in eight games since he took charge in October, Blues face a big test when they visit Rowett's old club Derby on Boxing Day.

"Everything is positive at the moment," Rowett told BBC Sport.

"But we're always looking for equilibrium and making sure nobody gets carried away. And we won't do that."

Birmingham's Christmas schedule
Boxing Day: Derby County (h)
Sunday 28 Dec: Nottingham Forest (a)
Saturday 3 January: FA Cup third round - Blyth Spartans (a)

On top of facing promotion favourites Derby on Friday, Blues are then scheduled to take on the equally challenging task of facing Nottingham Forest at the City Ground just two days later.

But, despite the fillip of orchestrating Birmingham's climb out of the Championship relegation zone to safer pastures in 15th, Rowett insists that it is all about keeping their feet on the floor and simply regarding the two Christmas holiday fixtures as business as usual.

"We'll be in at the start of the week looking forward to two very important games," he added.

"I've been given a fanatic opportunity here and we've loved it so far. Just going to places like Wolves, standing in front of 25,000, or back at St Andrew's watched by 20,000, it's been an absolute pleasure.

"But you can't do it with half an eye on something else. If you do the job properly, with enough love and belief for the club, you do it wholeheartedly.

"We've known for a while that our methods are comfortable at any level. But the players have bought into it and they deserve great credit."

Blues under Gary Rowett
Played: 8 Won: 5 Drawn: 2 Lost: 1
Goals scored: 12 Goals conceded: 4 (4 clean sheets)

Rowett is not even concerned that Blues' rise up the league has suddenly triggered newspaper column inches and internet speculation about where their younger, better players, like keeper Darren Randolph and teenage striker Demarai Gray might end up in January.

"It's a great distraction," said Rowett.

"People are talking about Demarai Gray. People will start to double up on him, which is a real compliment, but we have to adapt and find other ways of winning football matches.

"They're talking about Darren Randolph too. That's because they're performing well for our club. That's what we want.

"If some of them play well and move on and further their careers, I've no problem with that.

"I want players who are ambitious. I want players who are better than our level, as that means they'll have been successful with Blues."

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