Gary Rowett: “There won’t be any extra emotion” against former club

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Stoke City manager Gary Rowett said there will not be any extra emotion for him when the Potters play against his former side, Birmingham City tomorrow (October 20).

Speaking ahead of the clash, Rowett said: “Whilst I have  huge respect for that club and the fans and the people still working there ultimately it’s a home game for us and it makes no difference this weekend. 

“There certainly won’t be any extra emotion really, it’s about just doing what we’ve done in the last three or four games. 

“If you count the Blackburn game last night which I still think we could have got something out of then we’d be saying we’ve won three and drawn one of our last four. 

“We’ve been in good form at home. We’ve found a way to win when teams have dropped in and been compact against us but we know it’ll be a tough match.

“They’re a good side and it’ll be a physical game.”

Rowett moved to Birmingham from Burton Albion in 2014 and enjoyed two successful seasons, guiding them from 21st to 10th in his first season before leading the Midlands side in their push for a playoff spot in the 2015-16 season 

In December 2016 he was sacked, a move which took many Birmingham fans by surprise and was widely criticised.

The manager believes  rumours about the reason for his sacking have been unfair.

“I think me and the staff were popular for the job we did, but whenever you leave for whatever reason then rumours will come out that sully your time there, I think unfairly. 

“From my point of view, it came as a surprise at the time.

“But I think I’m a better manager for that.”

Since then, Rowett has had a questionable spell with Derby County before moving to Stoke at the start of this season with the hope of returning the club to the Premier League at the first time of asking. 

Stoke had a poor start to the season, winning only two of their first 10 league games but seemed to turn a corner before the international break winning their last two matches including an impressive win at Norwich City. 

But with the team carrying some momentum from their recent form, Rowett said his team could have done without the break.

“It didn’t feel like we needed an international break, usually you’re desperate for the break and to have a little bit of a breather but this one feels like it’s come a bit too quick.  

“But that’s the nature of this division and it’s the nature of having a lot of internationals.”

But Stoke will be happy to come out of the international break with no major injuries.

Rowett added: “Eight or nine have returned back today and they’ve all trained.

“We’ve got one or two little knocks but we won’t know how they are until tomorrow morning.”

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