x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

New signing Derbyshire set for Birmingham debut

Alex McLeish, the Birmingham City manager, could give Matt Derbyshire, the new signing, his debut in Saturday's Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers.

Alex McLeish, the Birmingham City manager, could give Matt Derbyshire, the new signing, his debut in Saturday's Premier League clash with Blackburn Rovers, his former club. The 24-year-old striker joined Birmingham yesterday from Olympiakos on a season-long loan deal with a view to a permanent move. McLeish made clear his disappointment with his side's performance in their Premier League opener at Sunderland last weekend despite fighting back to force a 2-2 draw and he could be tempted to throw Derbyshire straight into the mix.

"Matt's in contention for the weekend," McLeish told the club's website. "He's fit enough and he's played a couple of Europa League games and he's ready to go in." McLeish revealed he had been tempted by a move for Derbyshire, who left Rovers 18 months ago to head to Greece, last summer but brought in Christian Benitez, the Ecuadorian striker, on loan instead. He continued: "I'm very glad to have acquired Matt Derbyshire. When we went for Chucho [Benitez], Matt was a player who was run by me at the time but we'd already committed to Chucho, so I just missed out on him.

"When he left Blackburn two years ago he took on a big challenge by going to a foreign country, especially Greece where the weather is extremely hot and the fans are really volatile. "The passion between Panathanikos and Olympiakos is quite unbelievable, but he's gone there and won trophies and scored goals." Derbyshire, who joined Rovers as a 17-year-old, said he has no regrets about his move to Greece, which brought 12 goals in 21 appearances.

"I've become a better player during my time in Greece and it's been a great experience that I'd never change," he said. * Press Association Birmingham v Blackburn, 6pm Saturday on ADMC Sports 6 (To order: 800-2388 or www.admcsport.com)