It’s Alex McLeish’s steady nature that means Birmingham City consider nothing a formality.

The sensible Scot knows that to rest is risky.

Throughout this season, even when his Blues side have been ploughing their way up the Premier League table and putting together a string of impressive results, McLeish has warned against complacency.

Even after victory over Wolves, which put Blues well clear of the relegation zone, he found it hard to admit outright that they were safe from the drop.

He ordered that he didn’t expect his players to ‘down tools’ until the final whistle on the last day of the season.

So when Blues kick-off at Derby County on Saturday with a fantastic opportunity to reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup before them, McLeish will have made sure no-one in the away dressing room is thinking that the game is a formality.

“It’s a great chance for Derby as well, they’ve got a home tie,” reminded McLeish.

Clearly, Blues go into the match as the favourites. The Rams, although they have picked up in recent weeks, have been struggling in the lower reaches of the Championship.

It was heavy going for Blues when they saw off Nottingham Forest in the third round.

Memory of those ties – Blues won 1-0 in a replay – may act as a gentle reminder.

Also, past FA Cup let-downs will mean not many Blues supporters, and 5,000 are heading to Pride Park, will believe they are on the march.

In 2003-04, when Blues had their best season in 31 years, the way before them was wide open.

The faced Championship side Sunderland in a fifth round replay at St Andrew’s ... and lost 2-0 in extra-time.

That year, Millwall got to the final, beating Sunderland in the semi-final. As for 2005-06, that was as painful for very different reasons.

Blues had Liverpool at home in the quarter-finals, went 2-0 down inside five minutes and continued to slump to an embarrassing 7-0 defeat.

Blues were relegated that season and a funk had set in.

Nonetheless, that performance was a shocker.

So there is unlikely to be anything but Blues best given on Saturday, and as Robbie Savage is enjoying himself in typical talismanic style for Nigel Clough’s side, there is sure to be an extra edge to the play as well.