Jordan Hugill hopes Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup tie at Deepdale gives him a proper chance to say goodbye to the Preston North End supporters.
The striker, who left the Lilywhites for West Ham in a £9.5 million move in January, returns for the first time with loan club Middlesbrough for the third round tie.
“I’d like to think this will be a proper chance to thank the supporters and say goodbye properly,” the 26-year-old told PNE’s match-day programme for the game.
“I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to many people in January because it all came around so quickly.
“I don’t want to just go off without showing my appreciation to everyone and hopefully this will give me the chance to do it and hopefully I get a good reception!
“There’ll always be a place for Preston in my heart.”
Hugill is prepared to do battle with friends and former colleagues including PNE captain Tom Clarke, admitting it will be a strange night in more ways than one.
“When the fixtures are coming up, I always look for the results to see how they are doing and I am looking forward to seeing everyone again,” he said.
“It will be quite strange. I have had chats with Clarkey already to say ‘please don’t headbutt me’!
"It is going to be one of those situations where I am going to have to distance myself to the attachments that I have got with everything and make sure I am fully focused on my own task.
“It will be strange to go into the away dressing room, turning the complete wrong way in the corridor, but I am looking forward to it.”