Paul Devlin believes Birmingham City can shock Aston Villa exactly the way they did in 2002 when the former-Blues star was one of the ‘caged animals’ who produced one of the most memorable victories of the club’s recent history.

The 45-year-old was the only local player who started what became known as the ‘Peter Enckelman game’ after the Villa goalkeeper conceded an embarrassing own goal to help Blues to a handsome 3-0 win.

He has recalled how Birmingham were highly motivated in the build up to what was the first top flight meeting between the rivals in 16 years - and rates the match as one of the most enjoyable of his career.

And he insists as long as they play as they did against Cardiff in their last home match - Steve Cotterill’s men can ‘definitely get a result’.

However, they’ll probably have to do without the extra-inspiration provided by the opposition.

Birmingham born and breed players Ian Taylor (Villa) and Paul Devlin (Blues) meeting before the game.

“Myself and Michael Johnson did something with Ian Taylor and Olof Mellberg in Centenary Square in the build up to the game - and I remember Mellberg being quite disparaging about the Blues,” Devlin said.

“Not all of the Villa players but it seemed the foreign lads in particular were quite condescending towards us, we were not given much respect and it did rile us.

“Steve Bruce mentioned it a couple of times and there was something pinned up on the changing room wall.

“In the tunnel before the game we were like caged animals, we were eyeballing them, screaming, banging the tunnel and you could see in their faces that they didn’t like it - and that showed on the pitch.

“We were all really fired up, whoever you are you want to get the first tackle in - in any derby game it’s about stamping your authority.”

Birmingham City's Darren Purse and Paul Devlin either side of Aston Villa's Alpay Ozalan

Blues went ahead through Clinton Morrison on the half hour and even though they had to withstand pressure in the second period, added further goals via Enckelman and substitute Geoff Horsfield.

“The atmosphere was unbelievable, probably the best I ever played in at St Andrew’s, it felt like the whole ground was shaking and we just imposed ourselves on them.

“It was something that will stick with me forever, I played over 500 senior games over 14 or 15 years but this one is in my top three. It has really stuck in my mind.

“The night out with Geoff Horsfield didn’t though. I don’t remember much about that.

Geoff Horsfield scores Birmingham City's third goal against Aston Villa

“There were a few cans in the changing room afterwards and Steve Bruce came over to us and warned us not to go out - that went in one ear and out the other.

“We were still out at six or seven in the morning celebrating with the Blues fans.”

The clubs go into this weekend’s game with Villa on a relative high after a run of five wins from their last six league matches has lifted them to fifth.

On the other hand Blues are still struggling for consistency with victory in Cotterill’s first game followed up by a disappointing evening at Millwall.

Undeterred, though, Devlin believes the backing of the St Andrew’s crowd could once again prove pivotal.

“I was at the Cardiff game and all the signs were really positive, [Che] Adams and [Isaac] Vassell were lively, there was that little bit of a bounce from a new manager and all the players wanted to impress him.

“The lads should have been flying after beating top of the league like that but I watched them at Millwall and it was the polar opposite.

“There was not the same energy. If I knew the answer as to why I would be a manager myself.

“But the building blocks are there. I really like Adams and Vassell, they’ve given Blues another option up front.

“In the last few seasons we’ve had a big lad up front, Clayton Donaldson or Lukas Jutkiewicz - and hoped we could play off them. But pace means the opposition drops deeper, which gives you more time and space in the middle.

“Blues can definitely get a result if they perform like they did versus Cardiff, there is no reason they can’t at all.

“Villa are very dangerous going forward so the defence will have to be on their mettle but the crowd will give Blues that extra ten-twenty per cent and really lift them.

“Without a shadow of a doubt they can get a result.”

One that might go down in club folklore too.