Birmingham chief Rowett gives FA Cup rivals Blyth ‘utmost respect’

Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett anticipates a tough tie at Blyth Spartans
Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett anticipates a tough tie at Blyth Spartans
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BIRMINGHAM City manager Gary Rowett insists that his men fully respect tomorrow’s FA Cup opponents, Blyth Spartans, and has refused to give the Croft Park minnows any extra FA Cup ammunition.

Blues go to Blyth in the third round aiming to avoid a huge upset.

They are 14th in the Sky Bet Championship, while Tom Wade’s Blyth sit 16th in the Evo-Stik League’s Premier Division.

Spartans midfielder Stephen Turnbull called the tie an “anti-climax” after their impressove 2-1 second round win at Hartlepool, but Rowett played down using it as extra inspiration.

“I don’t get involved in what any other team say but we will respect Blyth and we will go there as if we are playing Derby or Nottingham Forest,” he said.

“I will give them the utmost of respect and if one or two of my players use any comments positively that’s up to them.

“I won’t be pinning anything up in the dressing room wall, expect for one or two players if they don’t perform.”

But Rowett has warned Birmingham they must be mentally prepared in order to reach the fourth round.

The St Andrew’s chief has already shocked QPR when he was Burton boss in the League Cup this season but knows the in-form Blues are favourites this time.

They have won six of their 10 games since Rowett’s appointment in November but he has underlined the danger Blyth pose.

He said: “I spent six years at Burton where we played against some huge teams in cup competitions and I know if a team from a higher division is not mentally prepared and not expecting the hostility they come unstuck.

“Not all of our players have been Premier League and Championship players all their lives so I’m sure there will be a few who have played at this type of ground. Some even would have started at grounds like Blyth and that’s the beauty of the Cup.

“It’ll be great for Blyth, they have done brilliantly to get this far. The one thing our players won’t do is turn up at Blyth and think ‘it’s not as big a ground as we’re used to’. That’s ridiculous. We’re all in the same profession, we’ll turn up and make sure we’re 100 per cent committed.”