New Birmingham boss Gary Rowett ready for 'exciting challenge'

Gary Rowett says it is 'an honour and a privilege' to have taken charge at Birmingham City and is looking forward to taking on an 'exciting challenge'.

Gary Rowett spent two years on the books at Birmingham City during his playing days, now he is back at St Andrew’s and charged with the task of turning the club’s fortunes around.

His predecessor, Lee Clark, has paid the price for a forgettable start to the season which has delivered just two victories in 14 outings, 11 points and a standing inside the Championship relegation zone.

Turning the tide will not be easy, as Birmingham also boast the worst defensive record in the entire division – shipping 28 goals so far at an average of two per game, with an 8-0 reversal at home to Bournemouth on Saturday doing little to help their cause.

Rowett, as a former defender, should be well-versed in plugging such leaks and returns to the West Midlands having helped to make Burton Albion serious promotion contenders in League Two.

Emotional ties have undoubtedly helped Birmingham to snare the services of their top choice, but Rowett says he is looking forward to taking on an ‘exciting challenge’ at one of English football’s sleeping giants.

He told the club’s official website: “It is an honour and privilege to be the manager of Birmingham City. This is a fantastic opportunity and an exciting challenge that I'm ready for.

“Having spent time here as a player, I know what this club is all about and what the supporters expect from their team.

"I know this job won't be easy but I'm ready for that and I'm looking forward to helping drive this club forward.

“The aim for me now is to work as hard, as professionally and as diligently as I can, to produce a team that can replicate the passion and pride that the supporters have - a team that they can believe in."

Rowett will quite literally by thrown to the wolves on his Birmingham bow this weekend, with a derby date with Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux set to be taken in on Saturday.

The pride and passion generated by such fixtures could work in his favour, with form tending to go out the window when two local rivals lock horns.

There is also the new-manager factor to be taken into consideration, with a change in approach often delivering immediate results, even if they cannot be maintained.

Birmingham certainly need Rowett to hit the ground running as getting stuck in a rut could be costly and result in them becoming the latest ex-Premier League club to suffer a humbling tumble into the third tier.

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