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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Surviving in the Premier League
Derby County midfielder David Jones will meet Birmingham keeper Colin Doyle
Derby's David Jones and Birmingham's Colin Doyle go head-to-head

By Jonathan Stevenson

It may be a bit early in the Premier League season to talk about the classic six-pointer.

But for Derby County and Birmingham City, every game they play is potentially the one that could either keep them in the Premier League or send them back to the Championship.

Ahead of Saturday's meeting at Pride Park, Derby's David Jones and Birmingham's Colin Doyle tell BBC Sport why they are prepared for the battle that lies ahead.

HAVING FAITH IN THE MANAGER

Jones on Billy Davies:
It is a big season for Billy, his first as a manager in the Premier League, but I don't think anyone has any doubts he'll be OK.

Derby boss Billy Davies

Billy has got a lot of experience and he has a good relationship with all of the players. He expects high standards from everyone - players and staff - in return.

He is also a very good man-manager. He always seems to be able to get the best out of the players in that way. He is a lot like Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in his attention to detail.

They also demand so much from people. Their mentality is the same in a lot of ways.

Doyle on Steve Bruce:
Steve Bruce has been at the club for six years and kept Birmingham in the Premier League for four, so he knows what he is doing.

Birmingham boss Steve Bruce

After getting relegated two years ago, he kept his job under difficult circumstances and got us back up and I do not think that many managers could have done that.

He has so much experience and won titles when he was at Manchester United. Steve was a player of great stature, plus he has been there and done that and everyone respects him.

Steve has good banter with the lads too, he is just a very good manager.

GETTING IT RIGHT IN THE TRANSFER MARKET

Jones on Robert Earnshaw and Co:
The new signings have all settled in very well. It has been good because most of them have been here for the whole of pre-season too.

Derby County's new signing Robert Earnshaw

I think you will see the Derby team gelling together well in the next few weeks - the more we play together, the better we will get.

The manager has put together a squad that can achieve things in this league and we will see that in the results over the next few weeks.

As a promoted team you must get by on fewer resources but hopefully we can stay up for a few seasons and get the financial backing you need to move the club forward.

Doyle on Garry O'Connor and Co:
We have bought a lot of players this summer, the new guys have all settled in well and looked sharp and they are all good lads.

Birmingham City's new signing Garry O'Connor

It can be a concern that so many players are coming in but if the manager wants to sign someone, and he has got the money, he will do it.

You just have to prepare as though you will play in every game. Prepare in the right way and you will get your chance, like I did last year.

Competition is healthy and keeps players on their toes. We all have total faith that Steve will sign the right players and he has bought superb ones so far.

BACKING YOUR OWN ABILITY

Jones on Jones:
The step-up is a big one on paper but when you get on the pitch it becomes a battle in your own mind to play on that stage.

You have to have the confidence in your ability to play in the Premier League, that is a big barrier to overcome. However, I have got plenty of confidence that I will be able to make an impact at this level.

There are a few players at Derby County who have not played at this level before and you have to find your feet very quickly. You have to adapt to be able to compete in this league.

We have played well in the last two games and it has given everyone the confidence that we can compete in this league.

Doyle on Doyle:
I am confident I am good enough to play in the Premier League, definitely. I do know it will not be easy but I am good enough.

When I was on loan at Nottingham Forest a couple of years ago, I played in an FA Cup tie at Tottenham. I made a mistake that day but I bounced back quickly and then ended up doing quite well overall.

It is vital for me that I can recover quickly from any mistakes. If you keep thinking about it, it can massively affect your game, you have to be rid of that feeling as soon as you can.

That experience at White Hart Lane when I was 19 will stand me in good stead for the trips to Old Trafford and Anfield that await us.

NOT SETTLING FOR 17TH IN THE LEAGUE

Jones on Derby County:
We are not looking at teams around us, we do not think of teams like Birmingham as being in the same position as us, you cannot do that.

We do not think about the teams that might be at the bottom of the table because we do not just want to survive, we want to do something in this league.

We have got to go into every single game not being afraid and believing, without any question at all, that we can win the game, whoever it might be against.

The Premier League has a different style to the Championship but it's nothing to be afraid of. It is a tough test but we are confident.

Doyle on Birmingham City:
It was a fantastic feeling to get promoted under so much pressure. Now we are here we want to stay and I think we are good enough.

If someone offered us 16th or 17th in the table we would probably take it but we do not want to settle just for staying away from relegation, we are aiming high.

We would like to think we can get up into mid-table but if we are going to finish in the bottom half, we just have to make sure we are not in the bottom three.

Come May, if we finish anywhere outside the relegation places, I think you would have to call it a good season basically.

COLIN DOYLE FACTFILE
Born: Cork, 12 June 1985
Clubs: Birmingham, Chester (loan), Nott'm Forest (loan), Millwall (loan)
International: Debut for Republic of Ireland v Ecuador on 23 May, 2007

DAVID JONES FACTFILE
Born: Southport, 4 Nov 1984
Clubs: Man Utd, Preston (loan), NEC Nijmegen (loan), Derby County
International: Has yet to decide whether to play for England or Wales





Barclays Premier League Table
01 February 2010 22:00
    P GD PTS
1 Chelsea 23 38 54
2 Man Utd 24 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 32 49
4 Tottenham 24 20 42

5 Liverpool 24 16 41

6 Man City 22 14 41
7 Aston Villa 23 13 40
8 Birmingham 23 -1 34
9 Everton 23 -1 32
10 Blackburn 24 -15 28
11 Fulham 23 -2 27
12 Stoke 22 -7 26
13 Sunderland 23 -10 24
14 Wigan 22 -23 22
15 West Ham 23 -9 21
16 Bolton 22 -15 21
17 Wolverhampton 23 -21 21

18 Burnley 23 -23 20
19 Hull 23 -26 20
20 Portsmouth 22 -16 15

SEE ALSO
Derby v Birmingham
23 Aug 07 |  Premier League
Birmingham dismiss Koller report
21 Aug 07 |  Birmingham City
Derby target Blades striker Stead
21 Aug 07 |  Derby County
Birmingham 0-1 West Ham
18 Aug 07 |  Premier League
Tottenham 4-0 Derby
18 Aug 07 |  Premier League
Jones opens door to Wales career
05 Jan 07 |  Derby County
Rams bag Man Utd midfielder Jones
04 Jan 07 |  Derby County
Doyle tips Bruce to keep Blues up
10 Aug 07 |  Birmingham City
Doyle signs new Birmingham deal
26 Apr 07 |  Birmingham City


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