With three consecutive wins and three successive clean sheets, Birmingham City's side all but picks itself at the moment.

Indeed if it was a surprise to see Steve Cotterill sent out the same side which beat Reading for the lower-priority FA Cup match with Burton - it would be absolutely none if that XI was also charged with facing Derby.

However, that is not to say the Blues boss is without options, particularly in attacking positions where Jota and Che Adams, probably the two most technically adept players at the club, remain on the bench.

But should Cotterill call on either?

Adams is still being nursed back from a hamstring injury, while Jota is still being nursed into the kind of form which saw Blues send Brentford £6m for his services.

Is there potential enough to justify changing a winning team? Particularly one for which wins have been so rare?

Brian Dick

I wouldn't even dream of changing a thing. Adams and Jota could come off the bench if needed but there's a stability to the current XI - and a growing self belief that is the club's best chance of moving up the table.

In a 4-3-3 I'd go with: Stockdale; Colin, Roberts, Dean, Grounds; Gardner, Kieftenbeld, Davis; Maghoma, Boga, Gallagher.

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Steve Cotterill is anxious to avoid leaving Birmingham City's transfer business until deadline day.

"We want to get away from that Supermarket Sweep on the last day of the window," said Cotterill.

Blues will not have vast amounts of money to strengthen the squad this month after spending sprees in the past two windows.

And any signings Cotterill is able to secure will ideally be done with plenty of time to spare before the window shuts on January 31.

Blues play Derby this weekend and Cotterill discussed the topic of last gasp deals in response to questions about Maikel Kieftenbeld.

The Dutch midfielder joined Derby late on deadline day last summer, only for the deal to fall through because of issues with the paperwork.

"You don't want to get involved in that last day at all," said Cotterill.

"The only business you want on the last day is people going out as that isn't going to affect you going forward.

"You don't want to be still bringing someone in as nine times out of 10 you're being reactive rather than proactive.

"Being reactive is somewhere I have been many times in my managerial career and it is not a comfortable situation to be in.

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"I've had a striker sat next to me, medical and terms done but clubs couldn't agree a fee and come 5pm it's gone and the lad drives back home.

"Those aren't good scenarios for you or the player. We want to get away from that Supermarket Sweep on the last day of the window. You don't want to do that.

"I know where I want to strengthen the team and it is clear for me.

"We are not just going to have another player in because he becomes available - if he doesn't play in the position we want him to we won't sign him.

"Otherwise me talking about balancing out the squad is irrelevant.

"We could all sign a good player but we don't let Emilio go and then sign another RB - unless he can play RB, LB and is a real good addition to the squad.

"I wouldn't rule that one out if we could get the right person - but I don't think we will."

Johnson: Cotterill's '18 month rebuild'

Ex-Birmingham City star Michael Johnson says Steve Cotterill needs time to turn the club round and that it could take ‘a year to 18 months’ to complete the process.

The former defender will return to St Andrew’s on Saturday as Blues meet another of his old clubs Derby County, in a fixture that pits second top of the Championship against second bottom.

And having seen Blues spend a year in decline following the departure of Gary Rowett, who will be in the Rams dugout this weekend, he says one key ingredient is needed at the club.

Michael Johnson

“It is about stability now because there have been too many changes,” Johnson said.

“If you are not careful you have four sets of players on different wages, used to playing four different styles and that can only lead to a toxic atmosphere in the changing room.

“Steve has got a big job on his hands and I feel for some of the guys [off the pitch] who have been there for so many years and done a tremendous job in difficult times.

“From what I am hearing Steve is starting to sort it out and whatever happens they have to stick by Steve because changing means bringing in another person with another set of ideas and whatever they want to bring in.

“It might take a year or 18 months to turn round but it’s a process that needs to be gone through.”

The signs of a turnaround could just be evident with Blues having won their last three matches and reined in some of their relegation rivals.

Certainly their performances appear to have stabilised with three successive clean sheets and Sam Gallagher starting to find the net on a regular basis.

There are no such worries at Derby where their form is excellent and Johnson recognises the methods that brought Rowett success at St Andrew’s.

“The table does not lie. Derby are second at the halfway stage on merit - because there have only been two defeats in 19 games - but we all know it’s only January and a lot can happen between now and the end of the season,” he continued.

“They’ve been in this position before and it hasn’t worked, they’ve got to use this as an opportunity to make sure wherever they fell short in previous years, they don’t again.

“Gary has improved the backbone of the team and that’s something you knew he would do from his Birmingham days.

“I saw that working with him as an ambassador for Blues that one of his strengths is affecting people and getting them to want to play for him. He’s a good people’s person and that’s having a good effect on Derby.”