Gareth Barry is expecting no favours this weekend from the team who were until quite recently the old enemy.
Barry featured in countless Second City derbies during his time at Aston Villa and knows Birmingham fans won’t have forgotten he once played for their fiercest rivals.
“I got quite a reception in the game at St Andrews last year,” smiled Barry. “It was early in my City career, not long after I’d moved from Villa, so I suppose it was only to be expected.
“But it’s a game I’m looking forward to - a lot of my friends are Birmingham fans so it still feels special to play them. Maybe if we can repeat the score from last season it might keep them quiet!”
Barry will also be facing former Villa team-mates Liam Ridgewell and Craig Gardner, and is expecting both to make life difficult for him and the rest of the City team.
He said: “They’ve both done really well because it’s a brave move for any player to transfer to your deadly rivals. It hadn’t happened for years, but they’ve settled in to become two of their most consistent players.
I expect big performances from both of them this weekend, because neither of them knows how to give less than 100 per cent. They both like a tackle and they won’t be pulling out whether it’s me or anyone else!
...Barry on Gardner & Ridgewell...
Barry insists City must take maximum points against Birmingham, who were beaten 5-1 last season, but says the mood is still positive after Wednesday’s goalless draw in the derby.
He admitted: “I think it’s fair to say neither side wanted to lose such a big game. There were very few chances created by either side, which is rare. It’s hard to put your finger on why, but we took a point and now move on.
“We’re still in fourth, within touching distance of Chelsea, and things can change round very quickly in the next few weeks. Having said that, three points against Birmingham won’t do any harm.”