SENTIMENT will be shunted firmly to one side when powerful Hull City frontman Delroy Facey faces his hometown club Town for the first time on Saturday.
The 24-year-old was just 16 when then-Town chief Brian Horton handed him his debut as a substitute against Portsmouth in the old First Division in March 1997.
The former Stile Common junior was the fifth youngest player in Town's history, after Peter Hart, Derek Parkin, Billy Legg and Denis Law, when he came off the bench.
It was the first of 82 Town outings (15 goals) in a career which now seems to be firmly back on track after spells in and out of the teams at Bolton and West Brom.
Hull boss Peter Taylor swooped to sign Facey on a free transfer in the summer, handing a two-year deal to a player who also had loan spells at Bradford and Burnley.
Facey wasn't figuring when Town put four without reply past Taylor's Tigers at the Galpharm in September, but has since forced himself firmly into the picture.
The man who will be praying to come unscathed through tonight's League I meeting with Doncaster, also at the KC Stadium, unscathed has formed a solid partnership with Nick Barmby.
"Nick is a one-touch master who is easily good enough to still be playing in the Premiership," said Facey of the Hull-born ex-England midfielder.
"His awareness is sensational and his touch wonderful. He's a quality player and a pleasure to play alongside."
Hull's home form has provided a platform for their second successive promotion push, and they go into tonight's derby with nine wins and a draw from 11 (Bradford were the team to win at the KC, 1-0 on August 31).
"We're outplaying sides at our place, not just on skill but fitness too," said Facey, whose career goal haul is 28 in 142 games.
"The boss keeps telling us to work harder and when we haven't got the ball, to win it back as quickly as possible."
Facey has done just that, much to the delight of manager Taylor.
"Delroy's looking fit and quick and playing with a lot of confience. His power and strength is a big plus for us," said the boss.