WES Brown is looking forward to his first Old Trafford return, but the centre-back will head to his spiritual home with a nagging fear about what lies in wait.
The 32-year-old Mancunian left Manchester United for Sunderland this summer. This afternoon he will play against the Red Devils for the first time in his career.
Even without it being the 25th anniversary of Sir Alex Ferguson’s appointment as Red Devils manager, it promises to be an emotional day for him.
But having suffered a humiliating defeat in their last top-flight home game, Brown fears his old team-mates could be at their most dangerous.
Ferguson’s men have not been at their best in recent weeks, but this afternoon they will probably be doubly determined to bury the memory of their 6-1 hammering at the hands of neighbours City.
“United always bounce back from adversity – that’s one quality they have always had,” Brown told Sunderland’s official website.
“Going into the game we know we will all have to be performing at our maximum to get something from the game.
“I had only ever previously been at Manchester United so it will be special to go back. I will enjoy the day but I’m going back there to try and win as a Sunderland player and hopefully we can do that.
“It will be nice to catch up with a few people I’ve not seen for a while before and after the game, but during those 90 minutes I’ll be fully focused on hopefully getting a good result for Sunderland.”
If it was United who turned Brown into a footballer, Red Devils Danny Welbeck and Jonny Evans have Sunderland to thank for a major part in their development. Both had successful loans at the Stadium of Light.
Welbeck’s was under Steve Bruce’s management last season.
“I couldn’t thank him enough for my time there,” the forward admits in today’s match programme.
“He was always speaking with me, always giving advice throughout training and throughout games as well. He’s been a massive part of my career.”
Evans was on Wearside in 2006-07, and still holds the Black Cats high in his affection.
“I’ve got a lot of fond memories from my time at Sunderland, but I’ll be looking to do a job and get three points before the international break,” he warned.