STEVE McClaren has warned his Derby County team to ignore Birmingham City’s recent struggles ahead of today’s Championship clash. writes STEVE NICHOLSON.
Birmingham arrive at Pride Park having lost their last five league games on the road and smarting from a four-goal defeat at Leeds last weekend.
They have slipped to 20th and their manager, Lee Clark, accepts that Blues are in a dog-fight.
But McClaren says Derby’s only focus must be on themselves.
Seven points from nine have been collected since he was appointed head coach.
Derby rescued a point from 4-1 down against Ipswich before they beat Leeds and Watford to climb to eighth.
McClaren insists this is not a time to get carried away and he has first-hand experience of the threat Birmingham can pose.
He said: “When I was at QPR, they came to Loftus Road and should have won the game. QPR won 1-0 but Birmingham played really well.
“They are a dangerous team. In Jesse Lingard, Nikola Zigic and Chris Burke they have got players who can hurt you.
“We have to be careful.
“Ignore Birmingham’s result at Leeds, that can happen in the Championship.
“Championship teams are inconsistent, ourselves included.
“We have to make sure we perform.
“Win, lose or draw, the next game you have to produce again.
“There is a pressure on us to produce again, while Birmingham do not want another result like the one at Leeds.
“It is a fresh start and so the first 20 minutes are going to be important.”
Lingard misses out for Birmingham with a knee injury and Zigic could start.
The visitors have struggled in away games although they have faced a tough run on the road with matches at Leicester, QPR, Burnley, Reading and Leeds.
“The table doesn’t lie,” said Clark. “This is very similar to where we were last year. We need to start winning games.
“We have got to make sure we pick up some points very quickly. We are where we are. We have got to understand and accept that.
“Points on the board – that’s what we need.”