Paul Dickov is relishing the prospect of pitting his wits against Micky Adams today – the manager, he says, who got the best out of him as a player.
Dickov played under the likes of George Graham at Arsenal, Mark Hughes at Blackburn and Joe Royle and Kevin Keegan at Manchester City in a long career.
But it was a spell playing for Adams at Leicester City between 2002 and 2004 – when he scored 32 goals – that Dickov regards as the time he played above himself.
“Micky is an old manager of mine who I get on great with,” said the Doncaster Rovers chief.
“He was fantastic for me as a player, probably the manager to get the most out of me from all the managers I played under.
“And that’s his biggest asset – he gets the best out of people.
“We had a love-hate relationship. He knew that if he gave me a bit of rollicking I’d react to it, though not always in the right way.
“I don’t want to give him too much credit because he already says he was the manager who turned me back into a 20-goal-a-season striker. But he’s a top man and somebody I have a massive amount of respect for.”
That respect only goes so far today as Rovers begin their home campaign in League One against Adams’s Port Vale.
Rovers have begun the season brightly, with two victories and two clean sheets in league and League Cup.
“It’s important not to get carried away but the pleasing thing is we’re a lot better than what we’ve shown,” said Dickov.
“Our overall performances in both games could have been better. We got a result on Tuesday without playing well. That shows character.
“We want to be patient against Vale, but to also play with tempo because we’re at our best when we close teams down and move the ball quickly.”