Birmingham v Aston Villa: Robbie Savage names favourites, explains concern regarding Bruce

BT Sport presenter Robbie Savage before the match

Birmingham City host Aston Villa in the Championship this afternoon.

Robbie Savage during the pro-amRobbie Savage during the pro-am

Pundit Robbie Savage has told The Mirror that he thinks Birmingham City are the favourites in today's clash with Aston Villa – but is wary of Steve Bruce grabbing all three points.

Birmingham and Villa meet this lunchtime for the latest instalment of their famed rivalry, and the game has been given some added spice by the presence of Villa boss Bruce.

After Roberto Di Matteo made a dismal start to the season, Villa chose to sack the Italian – and brought in former Birmingham boss Bruce as their new manager.

Birmingham’s manager Gary RowettBirmingham’s manager Gary Rowett

Bruce not only played 84 games for the Blues during his playing career, but then spent almost six years at the club as their manager, winning 100 of his 270 games in charge.

Now, Bruce returns to St. Andrews on the other side, and will be hoping to guide Villa to a third win in the last four games since he took over from Di Matteo.

Hosts Birmingham sit just one point off the play-offs, but have lost two of their last three games, meaning manager Gary Rowett will be desperate to pick up a win – especially having been beaten 1-0 by Villa in the EFL Cup last season.

Aston Villa manager Steve BruceAston Villa manager Steve Bruce

Ahead of the game, former Birmingham midfielder Robbie Savage – who worked under Bruce during his time at St. Andrews – has told The Mirror that he thinks Birmingham are the favourites given that they're at home and lie comfortably above Villa in the table.

Savage did though add that Bruce thrives on being an underdog, and is concerned that he'll pull a result out of the bag for Villa this afternoon.

BT Sport presenter Robbie Savage before the matchBT Sport presenter Robbie Savage

“I want Birmingham to win because I spent three memorable years at St Andrew’s as a player,” said Savage. “And on the face of it, Blues should be favourites because they are at home, they are six points above Villa in the table and they have a fantastic manager in Gary Rowett who knows how much the game means to supporters on both sides of the divide.”

“But I fear Steve Bruce will be Villa’s trump card – and not just because they have been enjoying the new manager ‘bounce’ of seven points from his first three games in charge. When Bruce was our boss at Birmingham, he knew Villa had the better squad, better players, more experience, a more experienced manager, they had spent more money, they had a bigger ground, a better training ground and a larger fanbase.”

“He harnessed all those things, used them to motivate his players, and in the 2002-3 season he came up with two wins, home and away, which were among my best nights in football. Bruce loved being the underdog – and I’m worried he might have the same effect on Villa this weekend,” he added.

What's your prediction for Birmingham City v Aston Villa?

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