Chris Coleman admits there will be mixed memories when he returns to Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday (12.30pm kick-off).
The former Wales manager comes home to Wales for the first time since leaving the job for a return to club management and the difficult task of keeping struggling Sunderland in the Championship.
It was in the Welsh capital that Coleman savoured some of his best moments in charge of his country, memorable victories that took his team to the finals of Euro 2016.
But it is also the venue where the dream died on a World Cup finals place this year when Wales lost their crucial final qualifier against the Republic of Ireland.
Now, Coleman is back to take on Cardiff City – aiming to take points off Neil Warnock’s side and prolong the agony of four successive league defeats for the Bluebirds.
“I’m looking forward to going back,” Coleman has told Sky Sports.
“Some of the best memories of my life are from that stadium, representing Wales. Some of my worst memories as well, when I first started, the nature of how I got the job.
“It’s a super atmosphere, the success we had was unprecedented and to be a part of all of that, yeah I can’t wait to go back.
“I’m not expecting too good a reception from the Cardiff City supporters given that I’m from down the road in Swansea, that will be interesting.
“The supporters were incredible, that’s why we wouldn’t move to the Principality Stadium, because the atmosphere we generated in that stadium was absolutely fabulous.”
“Having the chance to represent your country is an incredible feeling, but it’s double-edged because when you’re not successful you can feel the weight of the nation on your shoulders.
“I know what it’s like and it’s not nice to have an entire nation unhappy with you because you’re not winning or playing well. But if you reverse it, when they’re proud of the team and you’re at the head of that, you can’t describe that feeling.”
The Black Cats have made progress on the pitch since Coleman’s appointment but they remain locked in a relegation battle and funds are limited for January strengthening.
“I see in Sunderland football club, a fan base of almost 50,000 if we get it right, a great stadium, a fantastic training ground.
“I know what football means to the people of the north east, I’ve been coming here as a player and a manager long enough. That’s why I was drawn to the club.
“Martin Bain, our chief executive, was 100% honest with me, so on the back of that my mind was made up, really.
“In this industry it is sometimes hard to mention that word but he was brilliant, everything he told me was true so I was under no illusions.
“Any manager thinks they can go somewhere and affect it, if I can it could be something fantastic.
“I don’t regret it at all, I want to make a difference and if you can make a difference at a club like this.
“At the minute we haven’t really taken one step [forward], we’re nudging, but we’re trying, we keep on banging on the door. I do believe it will turn. I really do.
“I knew it was going to be a big challenge, what has made it tougher is the injuries, I’ve never been missing a full team. But that won’t last forever, we’ll get players back and hopefully add some new faces.
“There’s six teams down there around us, someone is going to pull away and we have to make sure it is us.”