Gary Rowett returns to St Andrew's this weekend with his Derby County team flying high in the Championship and a new contract in his back pocket.

We spoke to Steve Nicholson of the Derby Telegraph to find out what Birmingham City can expect from Rowett's Rams.

What are your thoughts on Derby's season so far?

Thirteen points from 30 after 10 games - one of those a 1-1 draw against Birmingham City - left many supporters concerned over which direction Derby County's season was heading.

The run since then has been excellent - 11 wins and three draws from 16 league games has lifted the Rams from 14th to second in the table. They are unbeaten in seven in the League and have tightened up defensively - conceding only three goals in the last 10 league fixtures.

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What are the expectations of the fans this season?

The fans would certainly have taken second place heading into the New Year! Expectations appeared to be low going into the season but now there is the scent of promotion in their nostrils although a nervousness remains because the Rams have been in this position twice in recent reasons only to fall short of the finish line.

What do you think about the job Gary Rowett is doing?

I felt he was the right man for Derby County before they turned to Steve McClaren for a second time in October 2016, and nothing I have seen about Gary and the way he works has altered my opinion.

He has instilled a resilience in the team that was missing, but was much-needed. To have Derby second in the table after only 10 months in the job is a fine achievement. It was no surprise to see him linked with the vacant post at Stoke City.

Who has been the pick of Derby's summer signings so far?

Curtis Davies has been remarkably consistent in a solid centre-back pairing with skipper Richard Keogh. Midfielder Tom Huddlestone has in the past month or so started to display his quality while the signing of free agent Joe Ledley was a shrewd one. His know-how has helped to knit the team together.

Was it a blow to miss out on Maikel Kieftenbeld?

It was at the time, yes, because Derby had allowed Craig Bryson and Jacob Butterfield to go out on loan in the belief they had landed Kieftenbeld. When the deal collapsed after deadline day it left Derby short of bodies in central midfield.

They then signed experienced Welsh international Joe Ledley, who was a free agent, and his arrival and contribution softened the blow of missing out on Kieftenbeld. Derby have lost just once in the 15 games Ledley has started although he has missed the last three due to a back problem.

What have you made of Blues so far this season?

The key for Birmingham City is to look forward and not back at what has gone previously this season. They sit in the bottom three but need to take confidence from consecutive league wins against Leeds United and Reading, without conceding a goal.

It is now three wins on the spin if you count the FA Cup victory over Burton Albion. The lower region of the Championship is a tough environment but seven points from the last 12 has pulled quite a number of other clubs closer to Birmingham.