Birmingham defender Harlee Dean is looking forward to seeing some familiar faces when Brentford visit St Andrews on Wednesday night.
The former Bees skipper spent the best part of six years at Griffin Park and captained the side last season before heading up the M40 in August.
It is the first chance that Dean has to face off against his former team-mates and he is relishing the prospect, although friendship will, obviously, go out of the window for 90 minutes.
“I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. I keep in touch with most of the boys still. We were a tight-knit bunch and they're playing well. I'm looking forward to the match,” he told GetWestLondon .
Dean, though, isn't sure what sort of reception he will get from the travelling away fans after he remarked that he felt that this current Birmingham side is 10 times better than the Bees side that finished fifth in 2015.
He added: “I'm not too sure. I've been getting a bit of stick on Twitter for an interview I did. I think they took that the wrong way.
“The away fans voted me as player of the season last season and I hope they hold me in the same regard.
“There's been a few comments that I've seen that I really don't agree with. I don't think they understood what I was saying and it's left a sour taste in some of the fans' mouths which is a bit disappointing.”
When asked to clarify his remarks, Dean explained: “I think I said the squad was 10 times better than the team that finished fifth.
“Football is a matter of opinions and I think the Brentford squad is 10 times better than the squad that finished fifth.
“When we finished fifth we had no experience of the Championship. We were team that came up from League One.
“We had a lot of young boys and we excelled and made the play-offs on the last day of the season.
“We weren't adjusted to the Championship and experienced in it. The squad has been in there four years.
“We've got Premier League experience and people who have played in the Championship for 100, 200 games.
“Brentford have three, four seasons of Championship football. They've got experience and internationals. That was the reasoning behind it.
“I think both teams are a lot better than the team that finished fifth even though we finished fifth and we never emulated that afterwards. I think the league is a lot harder as well. The league wasn't as strong as it is now.
“Everyone in this league has been able to beat everyone and there are some big clubs in there now.
“We were an unknown quantity when we finished fifth and now people know what Brentford are about and they make it a lot harder.
“The current squad deals with it by doing what they do day in day out and by playing football. That's why the squad Brentford have now is stronger than the one that finished fifth.”
Birmingham sit just above the relegation zone after a difficult start which saw Harry Redknapp sacked in September and Dean admitted that the last couple of months have been difficult.
He said: “It's been difficult. Results haven't been great with up and down performances and change of managers.
“We've not really found our feet yet so it's been tough. It's been enjoyable as it's a new challenge but at the same time, difficult.”
He added: “Confidence hasn't been the issue. It's been nailing down a style of play so we know what we're going to be doing.
“It's a bit different here. It's a big squad with a lot of quality and it's about finding the players to suit and then start getting results and climbing the table.”
Dean will know exactly what to expect from Brentford and was gushing with his praise of the talent Bees head coach Dean Smith has at his disposal.
He said: “It's evident for anyone playing Brentford what they're good at and how good they are at it.
“They like to control the ball and control the game. We've not had long to prepare for the game to be honest. It's about getting the result and keeping another clean sheet at home.
Dean went on to say: “I'll be honest and say all of them can hurt you. Ollie has come in and started on fire.
“Romaine (Sawyers) will probably come in for Nico (Yennaris, after he was knocked out at Preston) and he's been top drawer. Woodsy (Ryan Woods) is one of the best in the Championship in that position.
“Flo (Jozefzoon) is coming into his own. Lasse (Vibe) is proven at this level now. You've got to be wary of everyone at Brentford as they all have quality and score game.”
Dean has gone from being the captain and leader at Griffin Park to a squad member at St Andrews and he enjoys working with more experienced players having been the experienced one last year.
He explained: “It's different to Brentford and they had a young squad who were eager to learn and play.
“We've got players with Premier League experience. We've got Paul Robinson and his experience is invaluable.
“Craig Gardner, Tommy Kuszczak. It's different to what myself, Max and Jota have been used to. You learn off these people and try and emulate them really.
“It's been seamless the transition. The boys have made everyone feel welcome. We've slotted in well.
“They knew what we were about and they respected how good Brentford were and are and know their style of play is they like to have the football and control it.
“The lads are brilliant. It's been a good few months in that respect. I've made a lot of new friends and I hope we can go on and be successful together.”
Birmingham will be looking to follow up a draw with second city rivals Aston Villa with victory against the Bees and Dean knows that, while Brentford will not be seen as big a game as the Villans, they must treat it as such.
He said: “That's it and the players in the squad have let us know that we can't let our levels drop even though it may not be seen as a bigger game.
“Given where we are in the table, we need to start winning games and we've got enough quality in the dressing room.
“The bench is frightening and even people out of the squad. We've got to go out there and get results.”