Gary Rowett: Birmingham City boss plays down Derby job link

Paul Robinson celebrates Birmingham City's opening goal in the 3-0 win at Derby
Paul Robinson's (centre) opener set Blues on the way to a comfortable 3-0 win at Rowett's old club Derby in January

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett says he "understands" the latest flurry of speculation linking him with a job elsewhere in the Championship, this time at one of his former clubs Derby.

"We've been linked with seven or eight jobs this season," Rowett told BBC WM.

"This is all testament to how well the team has been playing and the feelgood factor round the club right now."

Paul Clement was sacked by the Rams on Monday, with Darren Wassall placed in charge for the rest of the season.

"I understand the link," said Rowett, 41, who made 120 appearances during three years with the Rams. "I live in Derby and my lad goes to the games. It's always a difficult one to hear, but you can write down the list of every team I've played for in my career.

"What if the Charlton job becomes available, or Cambridge United or Everton? Am I going to get linked with them too?"

Speculation, speculation, speculation

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett signs autographs prior to his successful return to Derby with Blues in January
Gary Rowett signed autographs prior to his successful return to Derby with Blues in January

"I read an article the other day which had the headline 'We don't want another month of speculation'," said Rowett. "But, if you're going to write headlines like that, all that's going to happen is another month of speculation.

"Like I've said many times before we're incredibly focused on what we're doing here. And, after losing our last game, all we're focused on is to try and win the next one and continue this play-off charge."

After losing to Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day, Blues' play-off push had been progressing nicely with a six-match unbeaten league run.

But then two late Gary Hooper goals in as many minutes last Saturday saw them slump to a 2-1 defeat in the return game with the Owls, dropping Blues back to eighth in the table.

They travel to the New York Stadium on Saturday to meet a struggling Rotherham United side now under new management following the appointment of the vastly-experienced Neil Warnock.

Gary Rowett was talking to BBC WM's Adam Bridge.