Lee Cattermole is revelling in the thought of his homecoming next Wednesday.
In 2006 the Middlesbrough academy graduate made his senior debut in a cauldron of noise at St James’ Park, aged just 17.
Cattermole took to the intense Tyne-Tees environment like a fish to water and produced a stellar man of the match display to inspire Boro to a draw on Tyneside.
Since then Catts has donned the red and white shirt against Newcastle United, but is yet to face his former club having missed the last three Sunderland matches against Boro through injury.
But speaking to safc.com, the 29-year-old admitted a butterfly-like feeling is brewing in the pit of his stomach ahead of next week’s showdown at the Riverside Stadium.
“When I had the operation I was told the time it would take me to get back,” he said.
“It fell straight on the Middlesbrough game but I knew it would’ve been a big ask even if I thought I could make the bench for that game.
“It would be a great one for me and my family. It was a game I highlighted and I always had in my mind when I was doing all the rehab.
“After all the tough sessions you do you always want to be in the best possible position so when the game comes around you are ready.
“It would be nice for both teams to be in a better position but we are where we are and we need to focus on getting a win which will give us some big momentum.
“It is a game I have felt I have always wanted to be involved in.
“We have played them in a couple of cup games and I was buzzing, absolutely buzzing, but I was injured and missed them all in the end.
“It has been a massive shame because it is a game I have always wanted to play in,” he continued.
“It is a game that gives you butterflies and that nervousness. You only get that feeling now from real special games like cup finals.
“It is a night match and that always add something else. It is a great atmosphere down there and it is up to us to make it a special night for our fans.”