Some six-and-a-half years have passed since Andrew Surman last played at St Mary’s, and in vastly different circumstances too.
His last run out there was part of a Southampton team heading for relegation down to League 1 in a 2-2 draw with Burnley.
That summer Surman completed a seven-figure switch to newly-promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers – a move that came with a lump in the throat for all involved but, looking back now, one that seems worthwhile for both parties.
While Saints built themselves back up in double-quick time, Surman recovered from a tough time at Molineux to earn promotion to the Premier League with Norwich City.
The two crossed paths when Southampton returned to the top flight in 2012, but an injured Surman would miss out on a first return to his former stomping ground when an operation was required on a long-standing injury.
Fast forward three more years and the opportunity arises with the midfielder in a new place, or more accurately, an old one. His return to Bournemouth, the club he joined on loan from Saints a decade ago, now opens up an opportunity for Surman to make an emotional playing return to St Mary’s.
“I’m still a Saints fan at heart and although I support the team I’m playing for which is Bournemouth, I’m always looking out for their scores,” he tells SAINTS – the club’s official matchday magazine.
“All my family are Southampton fans and my friends too. Having lived there and being from there, I keep in touch.
“I haven’t played there since I left so it’s been a few years now since I’ve been back. A few people have come and gone as well so there’s a different face of the club now to the one I was at and when I left.
“I think I was about to go for an operation before the last game so I was gutted about that, but I’m hoping to be involved this time around. I’m looking to keep injury-free for the rest of the week in time for Sunday and it will be good to be back.”