Birmingham Vs Blackburn Rovers, Sat 21 Aug 2010

Published Add your comment

Matt Derbyshire will put his emotions aside when he plays his first Premier League match in 20 months against his former club Blackburn.

The striker returned to England this week with Birmingham after agreeing a season-long loan from Olympiacos.

Derbyshire moved to Greece in January 2009 after becoming frustrated with his lack of first-team opportunities at Rovers, the club he joined as a 17-year-old.

Blues boss Alex McLeish has already said the 24-year-old will play some part in the match, his first in the English top flight since a 2-2 draw for Blackburn against Manchester City in December 2008.

Derbyshire said: "For me, it's more important to put a Birmingham jersey on and go out do the best I can for Birmingham City, whether it's against Blackburn or anybody else.

"I believe I was quite successful at Blackburn in the games I played. I had a fantastic time at Blackburn, it's a nice club, the club I supported as a boy.

"It will be strange, of course, because I know most of the players and they know me but you've got to put it behind you and concentrate on winning the game for Birmingham."

Derbyshire's move to Olympiacos, initially on loan, was one of the more surprising transfers of recent years.

But he adapted to Greek football impressively and was named man of the match in the Greek Cup final against AEK Athens after netting twice.

That prompted Olympiacos to shell out #3million for Derbyshire last summer and he continued to find the net fairly regularly, earning the nickname `The English Killer' after scoring the winner against bitter rivals Panathinaikos.

Derbyshire said: "The first two or three months was quite difficult with the language barrier. You don't know anybody, you don't know the place, you know nothing.

"And trying to learn the Greek language, which is very difficult. But when I got playing and started to do well, everything started to click in place.

"I had a great experience, a great time there. I'd never go back on it. If I had the same time again and it was Olympiacos or Blackburn I would do the same because I got to play Champions League football."

Birmingham could have a new forward line at St Andrew's with fellow new signing Nikola Zigic also pushing for a start after impressing off the bench in last weekend's 2-2 draw at Sunderland.

Kevin Phillips is the only definite absentee with the thigh problem that is expected to sideline him for another month.

Meanwhile, Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce has put Phil Jones' comfortable transition from centre-back to holding midfielder down to the teenager being a complete "natural" on the football field.

Allardyce sprung a surprise last weekend by playing Jones - who earned rave reviews last season for his performances at the heart of the Rovers defence - in central midfield for the team's Barclays Premier League opener against Everton.

The 18-year-old responded with an impressive display in his new position and looks set to continue there for the trip to Birmingham.

Allardyce believes Jones will eventually develop into an out-and-out central defender, but for now he is delighted to see him using his positional sense in a more advanced role.

Asked how much work he had to do with Jones to prepare him for playing in midfield, Allardyce said: "Not a lot. If you are a natural, you are a natural.

"We talk about the coaching side with great importance but at the end of the day, some people just naturally have the ability that they have and that is why they become a top player.

"He is a natural - he senses where he should be and what the situation is around him.

"For a young man, he makes more right decisions than some more experienced players.

"Moving him into midfield was a big ask because the game is so much more difficult in there as it is all around you, rather than just coming on to you as a centre-half.

"But he commanded that position with great quality on Saturday I felt and it was a big, big bonus for us to see him in that position.

"Hopefully he will grow in there. I ultimately see him in the end at the back, but certainly for now, he is making a good contribution in the middle of the park in that sitting role."

David Dunn is set to miss the game against his old club due to a groin problem.

The midfielder picked up the injury early in the Everton match and is not expected to be fit for selection.

The same applies to Vince Grella (calf), but Allardyce hopes to have both players back for next week's Carling Cup encounter with Norwich.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

European News
Blackburn Rovers
Premier League

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again