With West Bromwich Albion drawn against rivals Aston Villa in the sixth-round of the FA Cup, Baggies midfielder Craig Gardner is looking forward to next month’s matchup more than most.
Gardner, 28, came up through the Villa ranks to make 79 total appearances for the club between 2005 and 2010, before departing for Birmingham City during the winter transfer window in a £3.5 million deal.
The midfielder drew the ire of his former club’s fans upon declaring himself to be a lifelong Birmingham fan following his move, before dealing the claret and blues another blow in December 2010 after helping knock them out of the League Cup quarter-finals with a 2-1 home win.
Now back in the West Midlands after joining West Brom from Sunderland in the summer, Gardner is set to head back to Villa Park on the weekend of March 7 and 8, when he shouldn't expect to receive a warm reception from the Holte End faithful.
Having also scored the lone goal in December’s Premier League clash between the two sides at the Hawthorns, Villa fans will be sick of the sight of the former England Under-21 international at his point, but will be hoping for a different results this time around with new manager Tim Sherwood on board.
It's worth noting that the former Tottenham Hotspur boss was passed over for the West Brom job last month in favour of Tony Pulis, and he might just be looking to exact some revenge for the board’s decision to go with the more experienced option.