Cole Palmer returns to Manchester for the first time since joining Chelsea, and if he does feature tonight at Old Trafford he will enjoy a new experience in his home city.
The attacker arrived in west London in August and has made a sizeable impression in royal blue. He had the pleasure of scoring an injury-time equaliser against his former club Man City last month, and now wants to make an impression on the red side of the city.
Palmer says there will be split loyalties in the Palmer household if he does realise a childhood visualisation of scoring at the Stretford End.
‘I’m relishing the game,’ he explained. ‘I’ve never played at Old Trafford, so hopefully I play and score a few goals!
‘I’ve got a few friends who will be there who are United fans. They will be in the United end. Then my other mates will be in the Chelsea end. A few of my family are City fans, a few are United. It’ll be interesting.’
Leaving the city he had grown up in for one he had never visited aside to play football was a big decision for Palmer, but one he believes has been vindicated.
‘I felt like I was ready to be playing every week a while ago. I didn’t get the opportunities, so when I came here and got the opportunities, I was just excited and trying to show what I could do.
‘It’s been difficult [settling away from Manchester] but I think the performances from myself have helped. If I wasn't playing – or playing rubbish – I’d be thinking what’s going on. But I’m really enjoying it to be fair.’
That enjoyment has been heightened by an uptick in collective form; the 21-year-old’s introduction into the starting XI has certainly helped in that regard.
On Sunday Palmer had a big job to do from the bench as we kept Brighton at bay despite playing more than a half with a man disadvantage. Now he wants to build on that result as the fixtures come thick and fast.
‘We knew when we went down to 10 men, especially against them, that it would be difficult, but I’m glad we could stick it out.
‘We need to take it game by game. There are a lot of games now in December so hopefully we will get some wins under our belt and then push on in the new year and get top four.’