Barnsley, both as a club and a town, holds a special place in the affections of Doncaster Rovers manager Grant McCann.
He played for the club for one season – an unspectacular spell in his eyes – his middle son was born at the local hospital, he still rents a house out to the football club, and he will take two old friends and current Oakwell employees in Martin Devaney and Bobby Hassell out for a meal after today’s game.
He even had a conversation with the club about becoming their manager back in May.
But today he returns to Oakwell intent on taking all three points back across the A635 to Doncaster.
“It’s a club I enjoyed being at, but personally I felt they never got the best out of me,” said McCann, who made 34 appearances in the 2007-08 season.
“I’ve always been open and honest about it, it wasn’t my best year in football. I didn’t play many games and when I did I was played out of position.
“I scored on my debut at home to Ipswich. I scored some good goals and I made some good friends at Barnsley, people like Martin and Bobby.
“But I don’t think it was highly thought of, in my opinion, either because I didn’t do enough or I was played out of position.
“Even so I don’t go back there with a point to prove. It’s another game for me, we just want to go and win.”
Nor does he have any ill-feeling toward the club because those conversations about the vacant manager’s position never fully developed and a few weeks later Barnsley appointed Daniel Stendel. A few weeks further on McCann took the job at Doncaster.
But I don’t think it was highly thought of, in my opinion, either because I didn’t do enough or I was played out of position.Grant McCann
“It was a conversation I had with them when I was out of work, but I’m pleased with the club I’ve come to, really pleased,” he said.
McCann sees Barnsley as a Championship squad, but fresh from two wins in a week is confident his team can take the spoils.
“The styles are similar, both of us like to press, both like to play on the front foot,” he said.
“We’ve just got to stay calm. We’ve got to play the game and not the occasion, and not get sucked into Barnsley’s game.”