Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass keen to play his part against former club Leeds United on Elland Road return

MOTIVATION will certainly not be an issue for Robert Snodgrass if he is afforded the chance of reacquainting himself with the Elland Road turf that he used to glide across with a touch of swagger on Saturday.

OLD WHITE: Robert Snodgrass made his name in English football with Leeds United before moving to Norwich City. He is due to return to Elland Road with Hull City.

For starters, there’s the fair-sized matter of the Hull City winger heading back to old employers Leeds United.

But do not think for one moment that his primary incentive revolves around a nostalgic return to LS11 – or being overly concerned with what reception he gets from Whites fans for that matter either.

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When you have been through what the Scot has since August 16, 2014, it is perhaps no surprise that sentiment is always likely to represent a side-issue for him ahead of this weekend’s derby.

Not when making your league return after almost 16 months out is within touching distance.

Yet for Snodgrass, it’s not just about self. His desire to reingratiate himself with those amber-and-black clad followers in the away end by repaying their support now he has reached the end of his perilous and at times agonising road back to fitness, is also fervent.

The applause that Snodgrass was afforded from a travelling army of 5,000 Tigers followers when he entered the fray in the 73rd minute of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup exit at the Etihad Stadium was heartfelt and genuine and, while he is seeking personal payback after comfortably the worst period of his career, rewarding their faith is also a driving force.

On heading back to Elland Road as a player for the first time since leaving in a £3m move for Norwich City in July 2012, the ex-Leeds captain said: “Leeds United gave me my chance and I will be forever grateful for that and they brought me down from Scotland and introduced me to English football and were great for me.

“I have watched a few games since leaving and I still speak to a few staff there, although the players are changing all of the time.

“But I am now signed for Hull City and I will be wanting to try and get three points for Hull on Saturday.

“I know about the history and have played against Hull for Leeds and we had some great battles. But I need to take my hat off to these Hull City fans.

“They have stuck by me and wished me luck and the reception I got on Tuesday was incredible and I want to repay those fans at Hull because they have stuck by me.

“This is why I am working hard; to show these fans what I can do.”

After leaving Elland Road almost three-and-a-half years ago, Snodgrass subsequently revealed that his exit was in part down to a bewildering close season when raging off-the-field uncertainty reined -– with the lure of Premier League football at long-term admirers Norwich and potentially becoming an international regular with Scotland proving too strong.

The Glaswegian is hoping he will be afforded a respectful reception, but equally his mindset is purely focused on business.

He added: “I believe the (Leeds) fans will give me a (decent) reception. But I know as soon as I go on the park, there will be boos. But I’m a Hull City player now and I want Hull to win.

“If I didn’t actually have to come through the injury, then I would be thinking about the game, obviously. But to me, it’s just another game and that’s the whole truth.

“But it is one where I am hoping to play some part in.”

While 2015 has for large parts revolved around him seeing far too much of the Tigers treatment room than he would care to mention amid the relentless grind of rehabilitation from a career-threatening injury, some shafts of light are now appearing for Snodgrass.

His appearance in midweek was his first in a colossal 464 days and he readily admits that he never expected it to arrive at such a venerated setting as the Etihad.

Snodgrass, whose fateful injury arrived at Loftus Road when he dislocated his kneecap in a sickening injury on the opening game of Hull’s top-flight campaign in 2014-15, said: “To be fair, the gaffer always said I was going to get some minutes in the game, although I never, ever thought my comeback game would be against Manchester City, who are one of the best teams in Europe.

“It was at a quick pace, but I thought I came on and tried to put myself about and make a difference.

“It was all a bonus for me, to be honest, given where you think you are in your head at times.

“But I know myself when I get match fitness and sharpness, I’ll be fine.

“This is why I have done the long hours in the treatment room and I have been training with the lads for the past six or seven weeks.

“I came on at Manchester City and have got that bug for playing back.

“But this is where the hard work starts and I have to work tirelessly off the field to get back to where I was.

“My aim is to come back better than I was.”