He took his first footballing steps under the unorthodox managership of John Beck at Cambridge United in the early nineties.
But don’t expect too much long-ball stuff when Gary Rowett’s Birmingham City visit the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday.
The former centre-half is very much his own man, and has built a reputation as one of the brightest bosses on the Football League circuit.
Rowett, now 42, ended his playing days and began his managerial career at Burton Albion.
Originally assistant to Paul Peschisolido, he became boss in his own right in May 2012 after a stint in caretaker charge.
He twice took the Brewers to the League Two play-offs before leaving for Birmingham, where he had a spell as a player, two years ago.
Rowett was linked with a number of vacancies over the summer, but remained at St Andrew’s.
And he brings his side to West Yorkshire in seventh position, four places and as many points behind Town.
Part of the Cambridge side who made the second-tier play-offs in 1992, Rowett also played for Everton, Derby County, Leicester City and Charlton Athletic.
He had a 44.4% win record as manager of Burton and boasts a figure of 39% at Birmingham.
One of his 39 wins was by a 1-0 margin at the John Smith’s in December 2014.
In his other three meetings, Town have won once while the other two, including April’s West Yorkshire clash, ended 1-1.