Two bitter rivals from England’s second-biggest city resume an age-old rivalry this weekend, as Aston Villa and Birmingham City face off in The Championship.
The Second City Derby may well not have the prestige of the Merseyside or North London equivalents, but for inhabitants of the Midlands the animosity between the clubs is all-encompassing.
Villa have been the dominant force between the sides historically, with the men in claret and blue winning 51 of the 117 fixtures the cross-town rivals have played over the years.
The Villa Park outfit have a proud history of being one of only five English teams to be crowned European champions, while their relegation last season ended omnipresence in the top flight during the Premier League era.
City have been something of a baby brother to their rivals; an historic club but one that has bounced between the divisions in the modern era.
Sunday’s meeting will be the first league clash between the sides since the 2010-11 season, when the Blues were last in the Premier League.
The rivals did clash in the League Cup last season, with Villa taking the spoils and claiming local bragging rights thanks to a solitary Rudy Gestede goal in a 1-0 win.
Despite the Villa Park outfit having the upper hand over the years, the tables are turned to some degree this season.
Following their demotion last season, Chinese businessman Tony Via bought Villa over the summer and extensive recruitment was introduced to bolster the first-team squad.
However, after 14 games of the Championship season, Villa languish in 16th place on the table and Roberto Di Matteo has been replaced by Steve Bruce.
The new boss has a job on his hands to muster a squad with clear ability, but one that is disjointed and lacking team spirit.
City meanwhile look like a side more capable of putting forward a promotion push under Gary Rowett, with the men in blue in seventh place currently and outside the playoff spots merely on goal difference, although neither team looks close to being favourites in the Championship odds for the league title.
Goals have been as issue for both teams, with Birmingham pair Clayton Donaldson and Lukas Jutkiewicz on four goals apiece for the campaign – the same as Villa’s Jonathan Kodija.
The game will evoke the passions of both sets of supporters, with the Birmingham fanbase hoping their side can continue strong home form this season.
Bruce’s arrival has given the travelling support hope that the potential to bounce straight back to the Premier League is still a possibility, with Villa heading into the encounter having won their last two Championship games.
Although local pride will be seen as the major attribute on offer in the game, only six points separate the sides and as such a victory for either could have a significant bearing on the fortunes of both teams this season.