Former Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett insists he doesn’t ‘feel smug at all’ ahead of his St Andrew’s return tomorrow.

The 43-year-old was bizarrely sacked by Blues in December 2016 with the club just three points behind third-placed Reading.

Gianfranco Zola was appointed as his successor just hours later and almost led Blues to an unthinkable relegation before Harry Redknapp stepped in and saved the day.

And Rowett, whose high-flying Derby County visit B9 tomorrow afternoon, is growing tired of speaking about his sacking.

“I don’t feel smug at all,” Rowett said at his press conference this morning. “I built good relationships there and you don’t just throw them away.

“To be honest, I’m bored of speaking about it now. It’s been a year now and we’ve already been back once.

“I’m Derby manager now and that’s all I’m focused about.”

Derby manager, Gary Rowett

Along with leaders Wolves, Rowett’s Derby are the Championship’s form team and he collected December’s manager of the month award this morning.

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He said: “It’s a nice recognition for everybody. I always feel a bit embarrassed it says ‘manager’ as I think it should really say ‘team’.

“It was a really strong month for us and, for me, it’s recognition of the work everyone is doing tirelessly to try to get us where we want to be.

“Now we need to work incredibly hard to maintain our good form.”

More Blues news

Steve Cotterill says Birmingham City are still holding internal discussions about their transfer plans for the current window.

The Blues boss insisted he does not want to ‘miss a window’ as he tries to steer the club clear of the bottom three.

But after the excesses of the last two transfer periods - when there as a 28 player turnover - Cotterill referred to the impact that has had on Blues’ finances.

And in a sobering account of the current situation he says it is even possible he may have to allow players to leave before he can bring any in.

Asked about the club’s intentions with new players he said: "We are trying to sign them, we are still internally in discussions with what we can do and what we can’t do.

"We are probably not at that stage with discussing with [other] clubs at this moment in time, where we can go and what we can do.

"It might be nice to be at that stage but we are not at that stage as a club.

"We are not far enough down the line where we have been knocked back by anyone, or anyone has come to us with any fears of where we are in the table.

"I would probably just say at this moment in time - we are where we are in the league table, we are where we are as regards our transfer budget - if we have one.

"Of course I am hopeful of getting some business done, it would be good to not miss a window even though it is an incredibly difficult one."

And Cotterill, who was promised backing when he first took the job, suggested books might have to be balanced as financial regulations bite.

"There has been a lot that has been spent in the last two windows, a huge amount in fact. So, where are we in Financial Fair Play? We probably need to look at all aspects of it.

"It’s not been a surprise. If you look at what’s been spent over the last two windows, it’s probably not a surprise when you think about what has been spent.

"It would be nice to be able to spend but you can’t conjure it up to spend if it’s not there.

"We’ve got to see if we can balance things up a little bit and see how we go really. It’s a little bit week by week at the moment."

And it might not even be as clear as a one-in-one-out basis.

"It depends on how they leave the club. If they leave the club if there is a transfer fee or if they leave the club on a free and you’ve only got wages to sort out, it doesn’t mean that you can recruit then.

"You’d be back going down the loans scenario again, but we’ve already got four of those and you’re only allowed five in your matchday squad anyway. Which does make a little bit more difficult and restrictive.

"But that’s just something that I have to work around really."

In recent weeks Blues have seen Emilio Nsue leave permanently - for an undisclosed fee to Apoel FC, and David Cotterill’s contract terminated by mutual consent.

They have been linked with moves for League One strikers Devante Cole and Jack Marriott - both of whom are attracting interest from a host of Championship clubs.

Cole has 12 goals in 31 games for Fleetwood Town, while Peterborough’s Marriott has 23 in 37 and is the division’s leading scorer.

But the Birmingham manager distanced himself from the speculation - and insisted that he hadn’t instructed any bids to be made.

"Definitely not true. There has not been a bid made by us to any club - not in my knowledge anyway. Someone else might have but I haven’t made one."