Former Swansea City coach Pep Clotet insists he still loves the club but that won’t prevent him from ruining their day on Sunday at the Liberty Stadium.
The Spaniard was former manager Garry Monk’s right-hand man for two years and then followed Monk to Birmingham City before one of the Blues’ habitual coups left him in charge this summer.
This afternoon, he will seek out some old friends but aim to deny his old club the three points they need to put them joint top of the Championship with Leeds United.
“For me it is very special because I worked there for many years and I still have a lot of friends there. It’s a place that I love and a club that I love,” said Clotet.
“We know it’s a very difficult game. They were only relegated from the Premier League two seasons ago, so they have that Premier League experience.
“They are a team that plays with a lot of confidence, so it is going to be tough. But we need to make sure that we understand the game and we play to our strengths and try to take as much as we can from there. And afterwards I will wish them all the best.”
The Swans have enjoyed an impressive start under manager Steve Cooper, and have taken 10 points from their first four games of the season, most recently winning 3-1 at QPR in midweek.
Birmingham have also had a solid opening, picking up seven points and beating Barnsley 2-0 on Tuesday night at St Andrew’s.
Cooper said: “We’ve picked up points. It’s only a good start if you keep adding points to it and that is all we want to do.
“The players are confident but they were confident all through pre-season as well. We just want to get the most out of each day, including match days.
“We’re happy with how we’re playing but there are lots of areas where we feel can do better for longer periods.
“We haven’t played brilliantly in the first half of the two home games. That’s credit to the opposition as well, but we have to overcome that. That’s definitely a challenge for us.
“I would like to keep more clean sheets, there’s no doubt about that, and there will always be challenges in individual games we have to cope with.”
Nathan Dyer could miss out for the home side. The winger picked up a hamstring injury during his side’s win over Preston on August 17 and missed the 3-1 victory at QPR on Wednesday.
Aldo Kalulu is another likely absentee after missing the midweek game through injury and could be replaced by George Byers.
Centre-back Joe Rodon is expected to keep his place in the starting line-up after the Wales U21 international suffered online abuse following the Preston game.
Birmingham defender Maxime Colin is expected to return for Birmingham. Clotet said he expected Colin to return after he picked up a slight strain and missed his side’s 2-0 victory over Barnsley on Tuesday.
Jake Clarke-Salter, on-loan from Chelsea, is also expected to return after missing out in midweek with a slight back problem.
Clotet’s squad is set to return to full strength after playing on Tuesday without a defensive substitute.