Preston North End’s home clash with Bradford City was one which Kyel Reid marked on the calendar the moment he arrived at Deepdale in July.
The 26-year-old crossed the Pennines from Lancashire to Yorkshire when his Bantams contract ran out in the summer.
PNE opted to take a calculated risk on offering him a two-year deal, Reid still at the recovery stage following knee surgery.
At the time, Bradford would not commit themselves that far, choosing instead to invite him back for pre-season training in order to monitor his fitness.
He took up North End’s offer and now has 10 appearances in the club’s colours under his belt, three of those starts and seven from the bench.
It would not be over-stressing the point to say that Reid is desperate to play some part against his old club this weekend.
The nippy winger thoroughly enjoyed playing for City, helping them to two Wembley finals and promotion.
His big regret is that his time in the team there was brought to a sudden end by a torn cruciate ligament – an injury he suffered at the end of January.
“This was the game I was looking out for when I first came here,” Reid told the Evening Post.
“I had a great three years at Bradford and it was just a shame I got the injury when I did.
“My move to Bradford came about because I had worked with Phil Parkinson at Charlton.
“He got sacked by Charlton and when he got the Bradford job my contract at Charlton was just about to run out.
“Phil asked me to go there with him and I signed a day or two after he was appointed.
“Going there gave me a new lease of life. I got a lot of games under my belt and it put me back on the map.
“They had to fight relegation in my first season there but then they got promoted the next one.
“I went twice to Wembley with Bradford in the same season.
“For the League Cup final against Swansea I was on the bench, having missed a few games leading up to it with an injury.
“I was about to come on in the second half when our goalkeeper got sent off, so that meant I missed out.
“A few months later I got my chance in the play-off final, I started that game and we won to get promoted from League Two.
“I got on well with the staff and fans over there. When I signed for Preston, Phil Parkinson rang to wish me all the best.
“I’ve had a few messages from Bradford fans in the last few days wishing me well but hoping I don’t play well on Saturday!”
Reid’s switch to Deepdale saw him link up with Simon Grayson and Glynn Snodin, both of who mhe had worked with in the past.
Grayson took him on loan to Blackpool when he was manager there, while Snodin was on West Ham’s coaching staff as Reid came through the ranks at Upton Park.
Knowing the talent he had, they both felt it was a gamble worth taking when making the move to bring Reid here.
The player is happy with how his recovery from knee surgery has gone and it is an ongoing quest to keep his fitness levels high.
Said Reid: “I went for a long time without playing football, so it feels so good to be back.
“It was a long road to recovery and I’m probably a bit ahead of schedule in terms of the number of games I’ve played.
“The gaffer has done well in managing myself and my fitness and our physio Matt Jackson has been great.
“What helped in that respect is that Jacko knows the Bradford physio Matt Barrass really well – I think he used to work here.
“So when I came for the medical and signed, Jacko knew exactly where I was up to in terms of my rehabilitation work.
“It was a big shock when I got the injury in January. I had started that particular game well and then I got tackled.
“On the Monday I went for a scan and had been able to walk there without any real pain.
“So I was absolutely gutted when I had the scan and it showed up the torn ligament. Once I got my head around it, I just concentrated on having the operation and doing the recovery work.
“When Preston showed their interest in the summer, that was a huge boost because I was still some weeks away from playing.”
The corresponding fixture between the sides 13 months ago was a rip-roaring midweek 2-2 draw under the floodlights, with all four goals being headers.
Reid caught the eye that night in Bantams colours, showing a genuine turn of pace.
“That was probably one of my best games before the injury,” said Reid.
“When I came off the pitch I remember thinking what a good stadium and pitch it was.
“I got a few kicks from the Preston lads that night and they still do that to me in training now that I’m here!
“It is a big game for us on Saturday. Bradford will bring a lot of fans with them and it should be a good atmosphere. Our win at Havant on Monday night was massive in terms of getting us back on track after the two defeats in the league.
“We want to make progress in the FA Cup and we can take the confidence from the win into the Bradford match.
“Against Havant we were very professional and played well.”