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Managers send message to the fans ahead of tonight's derby clash.

Ahead of the biggest derby clash in recent times, both Tim Sherwood and Blues manager Gary Rowett have issued a statement to the fans.

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Make no mistake about it, tonight's derby game is a big one. The fans know it, West Midlands Police know it, the players know it, and so do the managers of both sides.

It's fitting therefore that both managers have today issued a joint statement regarding the match. As young managers, this game is arguably the biggest to date in their careers, so it's obvious that it should be all about the spectacle and the game itself, and not about any off the pitch incidents. The statement can be seen in full below.

It's an honour and a privilege for us to be managers of this great city's two big and historic clubs.

Since we were appointed, the welcome and backing we have received from our own supporters and the Birmingham public in general has been fantastic and very much appreciated.

We now look forward to our teams meeting in the Capital One Cup at Villa Park, resuming one of football's great local rivalries.

The Aston Villa - Birmingham City derby will be a first for us and it is an occasion we will both relish.

Both teams will endeavour to play the game the right way and in the right manner.

And we are sure that you magnificent supporters will be passionate in getting behind your team, in a responsible manner.

We hope the contest on the pitch does our clubs and the city proud.

And we urge all followers of Villa and Blues to enjoy the night in the spirit of the game and friendly rivalry and do themselves and the city proud too.

With a country and worldwide audience watching, let us come together to show that Villa - Blues is truly all about the football.

I completely echo the sentiments of both managers, and although I am a Villa fan, I am also a football fan, which comes higher in my opinion. So yes, I really want to see Villa win tonight, but I also want the game to pass safely, and without any crowd trouble or hostility. Because the game is being televised, all eyes are on us, at our home stadium. So it's on us, the Villa fans more than the Blues fans to ensure that we keep our dignity and maintain the club's reputation.

I hope the players can do us proud tonight, and I hope we can do the club proud. If you're heading to the game, please stay safe.