Fleetwood first-team coach Barry Nicholson is preparing to come face to face with the man who ended his playing career tonight but he is extremely grateful.
The man in question is Graham Alexander, the new manager of Salford City, who host Town tonight in a 7.45pm kick-off.
Scot Nicholson, had returned to his roots at Falkirk but at the end of the 2013-14 term his ex-Preston team-mate Alexander urged him to hang up his boots and rejoin him at Town in a coaching capacity.
Nicholson, now 39, has never looked back and is now working under his fifth Highbury head coach in Joey Barton.
Alexander’s three-year reign ended in 2015 but Nicholson will always be thankful. He said: “Graham actually ended my playing career, which I keep reminding him about!
“The development squad was just starting and he offered me the chance to take that. I wanted to continue playing but he wanted me to stop and get my teeth right into coaching.
“He knew I was really interested in the coaching and management side, so I’ve got a lot to be thankful to Graham for.”
The pair are still mates, and Nicholson believes Alexander and his former Town assistant Chris Lucketti will prove shrewd appointments at Salford.
Even so, Nicholson wants Town to head off to Hungary for next week’s pre-season tour on a winning note.
He said: “It will be good to see some familiar faces again. I actually saw Graham and Chris in the summer at Youl Mawene’s wedding, it was good to catch up then.
“But when it comes to the nitty gritty, you want to go and win the game. You want to put one over them.
“They are really good people, professional and really thorough. I really enjoyed working with them and I’m glad to see they are back in the game quickly after Graham left Scunthorpe and Chris left Bury.
“It is a great chance for them at a club that wants to go places, a bit like us really.
“I think Salford have looked at picking a manager who can take them to the Football League.
“Graham comes top of the list in my opinion of the managers who were out of work. He has got promotions under his belt and has done well in play-offs.”
Nicholson says Barton has made him feel wanted, adding: “There has been an excellent buy in from the players. The new staff and old staff have knitted brilliantly.
“Joey has brought in (fellow coaches) Steve Eyre and Clint Hill. He wants us to work as a group as much as we can, and we can split into midfield, defending and striking units.
“I’ve been doing a bit of work with the midfielders, so it has been excellent.”
Fleetwood youngster Dan Mooney featured in that Southport clash but has now joined National League North side Chester on loan until January 2.