Christophe Berra’s third goal of the season gave Town a deserved point at Derby.
The Scotland international, who has been included in their squad for the European Championship qualifier against Germany, headed in Paul Anderson’s free-kick early in the second-half to put Blues on level terms.
Berra’s strike cancelled out Chris Martin’s opener for Derby, with Anderson going closest to a winner, his effort saved by the feet of Lee Grant.
Town made three changes to the side that went down against Norwich last weekend. David McGoldrick didn’t travel after sustaining a dead leg in training on Friday, while Cole Skuse was sent home after being hit by a stomach bug overnight. Tyrone Mings dropped to the bench, with Jonathan Parr coming in for his debut for Blues. Teddy Bishop was handed his League debut, with Kevin Bru given his first Championship start.
Derby, full of confidence after two home wins in a week, created the first opening when Martin almost got on the end of Craig Forsyth’s cross.
Luke Hyam cleared the danger as the Rams threatened again through Jamie Ward before Steve McClaren’s side went in front on 11 minutes. Hyam failed to get distance with his clearance, Martin’s header was pushed out by Dean Gerken, Johnny Russell’s follow-up header was cleared off the line but Martin slid in the rebound.
The home fans then demanded a penalty when Jeff Hendrick was challenged by Berra but referee Eddie Ilderton waved play on, the midfielder receiving lengthy treatment for an arm injury before being replaced by Will Hughes midway through the first-half.
Bishop showed a turn of pace to force a corner after Luke Chambers’ initial header from another corner had been cleared to the midfielder.
Jay Tabb and Parr linked up well down the left to win another corner as Blues grew into the game, Tabb doing well to get on the end of Anderson’s cross but he couldn’t get enough on the ball to trouble Lee Grant.
Bru, not for the first time, won a free-kick after getting on the end of Daryl Murphy’s flick on but Parr’s cross from a neat move came to nothing as the home side went into the break in front.
Mings replaced the injured Chambers for the start of the second-half, Parr switching to right-back with Berra taking the skipper’s armband.
Another strong run by Bishop took Town deep into Derby territory, Mings firing across goal but behind the supporting Blues as Mick McCarthy’s side started the half on the front foot.
Bishop won another free-kick 30 yards out, Anderson’s delivery eventually falling to Hyam but his shot was beaten out before Blues levelled the scores, Berra again the man – heading in Anderson’s delivery on 52 minutes.
Blues could have been ahead a minute later, Grant saving with his feet from Murphy’s close range effort after a flowing move.
Grant was forced into action again to deny Bishop’s long range effort, Derby unsettled by Blues’ flying start to the second-half.
Martin headed over as the Rams responded, Gerken then getting a good hand to tip away Ward’s right foot curler.
Parr prevented Russell getting in, Bishop then making way for Alex Henshall midway through the second-half in Town’s second change.
The substitute was immediately in the action, escaping down the flank and forcing a corner that Murphy headed goalwards but Martin was in the right place to clear.
Mings did superbly to set up Henshall but Richard Keogh cleared, while at the other end Martin dragged his shot wide from the edge of the box.
Frank Nouble was introduced for the last 10 minutes, Anderson making way.
Parr cleared as Leon Best looked to get in, then the former Southampton striker headed over from the resultant corner.
Hyam failed to get a good connection when in a promising position, then Martin’s goalbound shot was cleared in added on time as Derby pressed for a winner but Blues held firm to take the point.