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Preview: Blues v Rotherham United

They are a team that plays 200 per cent every game because they know every single ball for them is their life. We have to play with at least the same intensity.

Aitor Karanka

Our full match preview ahead of Saturday's Sky Bet Championship fixture against The Millers at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium (3pm kick-off).

Aitor Karanka on what he expects from Rotherham...
"I am expecting the toughest game so far, I have known Paul Warne (the Rotherham manager) for a while, how well he has done since he has been in charge. They are recently promoted but they were in the Championship two years ago, I played against them when we were in Nottingham and it was a tough game. They are a team that plays 200 per cent every game because they know every single ball for them is their life. We have to play with at least the same intensity."

Aitor Karanka on how Saturday's game is a different challenge than the one presented by Brentford and Swansea in Blues' opening two Championship fixtures...
"Yes, I told you it is going to be the toughest game so far because this game in certain areas reminds me of the game against Cambridge. When you think you are better them, for me that’s the biggest mistake. When you are approaching the game or going to the pitch thinking you are better than the opponent because with that thought we would have lost against Brentford and Swansea. We need to think they are not worse than us."

Aitor Karanka on the news that the Government has put back a date for the return of fans to games...
"It’s frustrating but these are the times we are living in. From our side we just have to keep doing what we are doing, especially the players, because even though the fans can’t enjoy the games in the stadiums at least they can enjoy them in their houses. When they can come back it will be amazing and I hope that we will be in a nice position in the table to receive them."

Aitor Karanka on the impressive displays of summer signing George Friend in Blues' last two games...
"I’m not surprised because I’ve known George for the last six years and I know his personality. I said before we weren’t just bringing in a football player, we were also bringing in a character and a leader and a player that does every single thing for his club. And now he’s doing exactly what I was expecting from him. It’s just two games and we’ve got to look after him because he’s another player that didn’t play a lot of games last season, but again if George had played his best last season, or Mikel San Jose, Jon Toral or (Adam) Clayton had played their best last season they wouldn’t be here because they would have had another offer. But I think it’s a good advantage because I know what they can do."

Aitor Karanka on the benefits of having an experienced substitutes' bench to call on during games...
"It is really important, the first game against Brentford we knew we were not at 100 per cent, now we are not 100 per cent yet but at least we have three, four, five players on the bench who can replace the players on the pitch. I always said we are going to need 14 players because with our intensity it is very difficult to keep that for 90 minutes. To have three players – even more – ready to play and go for the team is important."

Rotherham manager Paul Warne's comments ahead of the game...
“I think it’s a little too early to make a full assessment but at the moment we’re in a good place, the lads think we’re going to have a really good season and so do I. We go into every game thinking we’re going to win, we were hugely disappointed not to come away with anything at the weekend, but now we go into the Birmingham and Huddersfield games looking forward to both. It will be a big test for us, I really like Lukas Jutkiewicz up top, he is a massive handful, reliable and works really hard. I’m well aware of their strengths and it will be a tough game for us. Karanka’s teams are set up not to concede and they don’t get many goals against them. They limit you to very few chances, so we’re going to have to be very clinical and patient in front of goal. He’s got a lot of experience in his team who know how to get results.”

Blues team news...
Andres Prieto missed last weekend's draw against Swansea with a calf injury but should be available for the squad. Josh McEachran (ACL) and Jonathan Leko (ACL) are definitely out. The game is likely to come too soon for new signing Mikel San Jose who only joined the Club on Monday.

Rotherham team news...
Defender Trevor Clarke will miss out because of a calf injury, whilst Clark Robinson is sidelined with a quad issue. Curtis Tilt has returned to training after a long-term injury but is not yet match fit. Former Blues defender Wes Harding should figure for The Millers.

Head to head...
Blues wins: 20
Draws: 11
Rotherham wins: 6

Last five meetings between Blues and Rotherham...
Championship 22 Apr 2019 Rotherham 1 Blues 3
Championship 06 Oct 2018 Blues 3 Rotherham 1
Championship 14 Apr 2017 Rotherham 1 Blues 1
Championship 18 Oct 2016 Blues 4 Rotherham 2
Championship 13 Feb 2016 Rotherham 0 Blues 0

BluesTV...
This match will be available to watch on BluesTV for just £10. Click here to buy. If you’re an existing international package subscriber you will not need to purchase a pay-per-view package, as it is included within your current subscription.

Match officials...
Referee: Andrew Madley
Assistant Referee 1 - Derek Eaton
Assistant Referee 2 - Steven Meredith
Fourth Official - Will Finnie

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