Shaun Cooper thanked Bournemouth for rescuing him from his Pompey ‘no-man’s land’.
But the midfielder, currently on loan at Fratton Park from Crawley, is determined to mark his Dean Court return with a Blues victory.
Last summer the 29-year-old left the Cherries after seven years, 240 games and three goals.
It was August 2005 when he joined the Dorset outfit, having fallen out of favour at first club Pompey.
After making seven appearances in the 2001-02 campaign, Cooper was deemed surplus to requirements.
Now he is back at Fratton on a month’s loan and relishing stepping out again on the turf of his former club.
He said: ‘I am very grateful to Bournemouth. I went down there, they signed me and it didn’t take long for me to get in the team.
‘Once I did, I did well and stayed there and learned a lot from then manager Sean O’Driscoll in the year-and-a-half I was with him and became part of the team.
‘When I was with Pompey before then, the club just changed.
‘There were opportunities for youngsters, we didn’t have a great squad or a big squad – Lewis Buxton played the whole season that year and did really well.
‘But then, almost as quick as you got in the team, you went out of it.
‘Harry Redknapp made all the signings and got the lads promoted so you can’t argue with it.
‘But for the youngsters it developed into a big squad of players in no-man’s land, who were too old for the youth team and not old enough for the first team.
‘Football became a chore, really, and went like that for a few years, so it was a good thing to get out.
‘I was at Bournemouth seven years. There were a lot of lows off the pitch but it created a togetherness in the team.
‘We couldn’t bring players in so had a small squad of lads who became really good friends, had a good manager who organised us well, and we got the results we needed. It was brilliant.
‘I’m looking forward to going back. When I saw the fixtures after coming here it did make me giggle!’
Cooper was a substitute in Tuesday night’s defeat at Scunthorpe.
He was one of four changes as Guy Whittingham rotated the side.
Now he is ready to make his second trip to Dean Court this season, following an outing with Crawley.
Cooper added: ‘Guy spoke to me before the game last weekend and knows I’ve played hardly any football this season.
‘I felt fine but he told me he was going to play for me an hour and then rest me Tuesday.
‘We’ll wait and see what happens tomorrow.
‘There were positives from the week. There have been spells in all our games when we have done okay.’