Birmingham take on Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship this weekend, where Blues defender George Friend will see his former club’s fans for the first time since his departure last summer.
Birmingham signed Friend after his contract expired at Middlesbrough. The defender turned down an option to remain on Teesside, instead signing a two-year deal with the Blues, then managed by his former boss Aitor Karanka.
Since then he has gone on to make 34 appearances for his new side in all competitions.
Last season he starred in the 1-0 away victory over Middlesbrough. He was awarded the Sky Sports Man of the Match in the televised clash back in January this year.
But because of COVID restrictions, there were no fans, and with this having been his only appearances against Boro since his move, he is relishing the possibility of playing in front of them this weekend when his new side and his old side meet.
“Hopefully, it’ll be different this weekend. I think everybody knows what my time with Middlesbrough meant to me. It wasn’t just a football club, it was my home,” said Friend in an interview with The Northern Echo.
“It’ll be nice to be back, and nice to be able to see all the people I’m still really close with. And I’m obviously looking forward to seeing the fans.
“Because of the way things happened, I never got chance to thank them for everything. It’ll be good to go over and give them a wave.”
At present Friend’s current side Birmingham are languishing in 18th place in the Championship table on 16 points. They sit seven points above the relegation zone.
Middlesbrough on the other hand have had an upturn in form in recent weeks and currently occupy sixth spot in the table.
A win for the Blues could take them up to 13th. A win for Boro though could see them jump to as high as fourth in the standings.
Friend will be looking to get one over on his former side when they face off at 3pm on Saturday afternoon at the Riverside.