Huddersfield Town manager Chris Powell and Wigan Athletic boss Malky Mackay go back years.
The duo who will be in opposite dug-outs at the DW Stadium were roommates on away trips during their days at West Ham United.
“We signed at Upton Park on the same day (in September 2004),” explained Powell, whose side are 17th in the Championship to Wigan’s second-bottom.
“It was a good season, because we got promotion from the Championship.
“He is someone I know well, and I was always aware of his ambition to manage.
“He fulfilled those at Watford and Cardiff and is now at Wigan, and I am pleased to see any manager who has been out of the game come back in.”
The November appointment at Wigan was made despite an ongoing Football Association investigation into Mackay and former Cardiff head of recruitment Iain Moody for sending racist, sexist and homophobic messages during their time working together in South Wales.
“I think everyone knows what has gone on, and it’s a continuing process. The FA will deal with it as they see fit,” said Powell.
“Malky will be focused on getting Wigan up the table.
“They have had a bit of a hangover from last season.
“Wigan got into the play-offs, and would have been looking to carry on from where they left off.
“Sadly Uwe Rosler departed, now Malky has come in and it’s been a tall order to get themselves going.
“There has been talk of players (Shaun Maloney and Callum McManaman) leaving which can’t have helped.
“But they have match-winners, players capable at this level and higher, and they will be fighting hard.
“It’s a game both sides will be looking to get something from.”
While Town have defender Murray Wallace and forward Harry Bunn back in contention after hamstring injuries, they go into the game without striker James Vaughan (fractured cheekbone and eye socket) and with a question mark against midfielder Jonathan Hogg (thigh).
“Injuries are part and parcel of football,” added Powell.
“I’ve been through seasons where my teams have quite lucky, and some not so good. I rally hope that doesn’t happen here, but whatever the situation, you have deal with it.”
Meanwhile Wigan midfielder Maloney is moving to MLS outfit Chicago Fire.
The Scotland international looked set to switch to Leicester City for £1m but personal terms could not be agreed.
Maloney spent time in the US when recovering from a hip injury.