Newcastle United’s Karl Darlow’s ready for an “emotional” return to the City Ground.
The goalkeeper started his career at tomorrow night’s opponents Nottingham Forest.
Darlow joined Newcastle two years ago and returned to the club on a year-long loan.
Now Rafa Benitez’s first-choice goalkeeper at St James’s Park with Rob Elliot not yet fully fit, Darlow is relishing going back to Forest.
United are looking to put back-to-back defeats behind them.
The Championship leaders, beaten by Blackburn Rovers last weekend, were knocked out of the EFL Cup by Hull City on Tuesday night.
Newcastle were beaten on penalties after drawing 1-1 after extra-time.
“It’s going to be an emotional night for me, and I can’t wait,” said Darlow, who didn’t play at the KCOM Stadium.
“It’s a big game for me, but at the end of the day it’s three points on offer, and we need to make sure we go and put on another professional away performance to put last weekend’s defeat behind us.
“We’ve been very good away from home this season, and hopefully we can come away from there with another good performance and bounce back from what happened against Blackburn.”
Northampton-born Darlow – who joined Forest aged 15 and progressed through the club’s youth system – will always been grateful to the club for the start they gave him.
“I came through the youth system there and they did an awful lot for me as a player,” said Darlow.
“I’m massively appreciative of what they did for me at the time.
“It was massive for me to be able to get into the team there and be their No 1 for a number of seasons.
“They’re a fantastic club, and I can’t talk highly enough about them.
“I was 15 when I joined there, so to battle my way through to become the No 1 there was a big thing for me.
“I’m very grateful for what that club did for me, and it will be a good game on Friday.”
Benitez fielded summer signing Matz Sels against Hull in the EFL Cup quarter-final.
The 24-year-old – who started the season between the posts – was at fault for the home side’s equaliser, scored by Robert Snodgrass.