With his career on hold while he tries to resolve his future at Sheffield United, what Birmingham City wouldn't give to have Geoff Horsfield at his rampaging best this Sunday.

The former Blues striker became Aston Villa's nemesis during their first season back in the Premiership with two goals and two victories against their bitter rivals across the city.

He was even forced to don the goalkeeper's jersey during their first Premiership victory at Villa Park after Nico Vaesen collapsed in a heap with knee ligament damage.

The 33-year-old epitomised all the qualities that were omnipresent during Steve Bruce's first two-and-a-half years at the helm.

Committed, robust and an ability to wear his heart on his sleeve certainly endeared him to the Birmingham public and his role in their derby victories will ensure his rightful place in Blues' folklore.

It is still feasible that Horsfield could trade places with his former employers next season, as both Albion and Birmingham are precariously balanced in the Premiership relegation zone.

Despite Horsfield's well-documented fall out with Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock, he is training twice a week at Bramall Lane and hopes the situation can be resolved in the summer.

With Birmingham's players continuing a blanket media ban until further notice it is left to Horsfield to express to supporters just how important this fixture is.

The stakes are as high as they have ever been in a Second City Premiership derby, but Horsfield is steadfast in his belief that Birmingham can emerge victorious for the fifth time in eight Premier-ship fixtures.

He said: "Blues have come on a treat in the last couple of weeks and they have an excellent chance of beating Villa.

"Someone is going to have to be a hero and Emile Heskey has a good a chance as anyone. It would be nice to see him on the scoresheet and all the omens are in their favour.

"They have got nearly all their players while Villa have got a load of injuries. Psychologically, they also have a huge advantage because of the past results, especially at Villa Park.

"Steve (Bruce) always used to keep the games low key and not go around blowing his own trumpet. That policy always seemed to pay dividends and I am sure all the players will have been reminded just how important this fixture is by supporters."

Bruce is faced with a selection headache for the first time in many months ahead of Sunday's high-noon clash.

Matthew Upson is fully fit after safely negotiating a reserve team fixture in midweek and will be itching for his first game since February 4. However, an unchanged defence has been the bedrock of Birmingham's revival for the last three fixtures and Bruce would be loathe to upset the apple cart.

David Dunn is also angling for a recall after an impressive cameo role against Wigan last Saturday and his claims appear stronger than Upson's.

Bruce's team has struggled to create chances all season and look far more likely when both Dunn and Jarosik are on the pitch.

Muzzy Izzet looked distinctly ring rusty during last week's comeback against Wigan, which might persuade Bruce to throw caution to the wind in a fixture they cannot afford to lose.

Horsfield is convinced of the merits of an attacking policy at this juncture; as he is concerned time is of the essence.

"I don't think Blues can afford a draw in this game," continued Horsfield. "They need to turn Villa and put them under pressure for 90 minutes. They need thee points because Portsmouth are at home to Middlesbrough who blow hot and cold.

"An attacking formation including David Dunn is the best way forward. He has been sorely missed over the last 18 months, as he has never been 100 per cent.

"Dunn can let his feet do the talking in this game and he always seems to do well against Villa. At his best, he is good enough to be knocking on England's door and Villa will be very wary of him.

"A Birmingham win would leave Villa looking anxiously over their shoulders and they would be right back in the mix.

"However, I don't think Birmingham can afford to lose again this season. If they get beat then it is an uphill task from there on in."