Birmingham boss Gary Rowett responds to speculation linking him with Derby vacancy

The Blues manager has been linked as a potential replacement for Paul Clement.

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett has played down speculation linking him with the managerial vacancy at Derby County, the Birmingham Mail reports.

The Rams are looking for a new boss after parting company with Paul Clement, and while Rowett admitted that he seems like one of the obvious candidates for the job - having made over 100 league appearances for the club during his playing days - he insisted that he is simply concentrating on the work that he is doing at St Andrew's. 

"It's a natural link, I live in Derbyshire, my lad goes to the games, I played for them. It's another fantastic club - like the one we are at now," he told the Mail.

"I will reiterate we are incredibly focused on what we are doing, incredibly focused on trying to win the next game because we lost the last game and incredibly focused because there are 16 games to go and I still think we are in a fantastic chance of getting in the play-offs."

As well as the links between Rowett and Derby, it is not a surprise that he is one of the favourites for the job at the club. The work he has done with Birmingham, and Burton previously, has been hugely impressive so it would be understandable if the Rams board felt that he could be the man to lead them into the Premier League.

Having taken over last season when the Blues were in the Championship's relegation zone, he guided the club to safety in his first season, and has built upon their survival by leading the side into play-off contention this term. Currently, the side are just three points adrift of the top six. 

And while he will be hopeful of taking the club that little bit higher, a move to the iPro Stadium would arguably provide Rowett with a better chance of achieving promotion this season. Derby are fifth and are just six points behind current league leaders Middlesbrough.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch