Home news Birmingham City v Aston Villa: Steve Bruce intrigued by Championship's extremes

Birmingham City v Aston Villa: Steve Bruce intrigued by Championship's extremes

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Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce has bigger ambitions this season than merely being the manager of the best side in the city of Birmingham.But, going into Sunday’s Second City derby at St Andrew’s, the former Blues boss knows better than anyone just what derby games mean.Bruce has a fine derby record in the city – five times the winning boss.

But he concedes: “My worst day in football was as Sunderland manager when we got beat 5-1 by Newcastle United.”Bruce told BBC WM: “That sticks with me forever. The worst feeling I’ve ever really had. “Derby games mean so much to the supporters. We all know what the derby means. It’s so very important that they have the bragging rights for the next six months.”‘Total football’ to ‘crash, bang, wallop’ Bruce also knows that meeting Steve Cotterill’s Blues will be a whole different game from last Saturday’s 2-1 home win over Fulham, which steered Villa to fifth in the Championship table.”That was arguably our best performance of the season against a very decent Fulham side,” said Bruce. “That’s five wins out of six and we’ve got to keep it going.”We’ve got ourselves into a position where we want to be. We now need to cement that. We’d like to start putting a little pressure on the real top end of the division.”But this will be totally different. That’s what the Championship is. I’ve watched the Millwall-Blues game on video from last week. Crash, bang, wallop, big physical game. Not much football played.”But that’s the beauty of the Championship. You get the extremes of a Fulham, who want to play total football under (Slavisa) Jokanovic and then you get Steve going in there at Blues.”I know exactly where he’ll be. He’ll have them thoroughly well organised. I saw them against Cardiff and they did very well. Steve will have them revved up. They’ll be just as desperate to turn us over as we are them.”You get debates about which is the biggest derby. For me, this is the big one. I haven’t lost many and I intend to keep it that way.”

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Bruce’s Second City derby historySteve Bruce has taken charge of 11 second city derbies – nine as Blues boss, two in charge of Villa – and lost just three of them.In his first six derbies, his Blues side were unbeaten, winning four, including doubles over Villa in 2002-03 and 2004-05.Villa won the next three, capped by a 2-1 win for Martin O’Neill’s side in Bruce’s last game as Blues boss in November 2007.As Villa boss, Bruce has so far drawn one and won one. While derby specialist Gabby Agbonlahor’s goal won the points at Villa Park in April, the 1-1 draw at St Andrew’s a year ago was only Bruce’s third game in charge.Sunday’s game is only the third game in charge for new Blues boss Steve Cotterill, who was number two to Harry Redknapp when they lost at Villa in April.Albert Adomah – Villa’s form playerOne man Birmingham City will have to keep a close watch on this Sunday is Villa left winger Albert Adomah, their six-goal top scorer.Since being given his first league start of the campaign in the 3-0 win at Barnsley, Adomah’s run of five in six games has coincided directly with Villa’s recent run of good results.”Everybody looks forward to the derby,” he told BBC WM. “And, at the end of the day, it’s just about three points.”But we’ll go there looking to win, not just to make up the numbers.”Against Wolves, the better team won. Against Birmingham, hopefully the better team will win then too. And hopefully that will be Villa.”Steve Bruce and Albert Adomah were talking to BBC WM’s Mark Regan.
Source: BBC Black Country