JORDAN Rhodes believes he owes Huddersfield Town “everything” but insists he had to take his Blackburn Rovers opportunity to further his game.
Rovers’ £8million man returns to the John Smith’s Stadium this evening for the first time since sealing his big-money move to Ewood Park earlier this season and is determined to treat it as ‘just another game’.
The 22-year-old scored 73 goals in just 126 league appearances for the Terriers after joining from Ipswich and admits he will try not to celebrate if he scores against his former pals – as long as he doesn’t get carried away in the moment.
He said: “I owe Huddersfield every-thing. I think that is quite right in saying although I have a lot of thanks and gratitude towards Ipswich for my foundation in foot-ball.
"I only left at a young age and the Huddersfield chairman Dean Hoyle was fantastic, I owe him a great deal, and Lee Clark and Simon Grayson for the help they gave me over the three years.
“I had many a good time there and it was a great way to round it off by getting promoted last year.
“I think as a man it was time to leave to better myself. I learned things at Huddersfield that I would never have got if I had stayed at Ipswich and I feel as if I will learn things at Blackburn that I would not get at either of the first two clubs.
"I think it is a matter of developing as a player. I still have age on my side and it is a matter of improving and learning for years to come “I would like to think I wouldn’t celebrate. I would like to pay my due respects to the club and the people that have been faithful to me for those three years. I will try and go in with that mentality.
“However if it is a last minute winner I might get carried away. I don’t think any goal celebration is to disrespect the oppo-sition. It is to celebrate the team’s achievements.”
Rhodes is unsure what the reaction will be towards him from his former adoring public but he insists he will understand if there is some “banter” flying his way this evening.
He also insists he won’t allow himself to get worked up by the occasion as he looks forward to seeing some of his old friends.
“People have just wished me the best and thanked me for what I had done,” he said. “I think people knew I had to leave in the end just to further myself.
“There were two or three real heart felt letters sent to me, that was really special. I will write back to them once my house is all sorted.
“If selected I will try and give it my best shot and remain calm and composed. It is like any other game.
“I understand if there is a bit of banter towards me, that is under-standable.
“It will be different going back there, but it was inevitable, it was a fixture that was always going to happen when I moved to Blackburn Rovers. It is a fixture I won’t treat any differently.”
And Rhodes admits he will be coming up against a couple of close friends when he takes to the field tonight.
He added: “Lee Novak and Alan Lee, who play for Huddersfield, are really good friends. I know Alan and his wife Catherine really well and we go out for meals on Saturday nights, even still.
“Lee and his girlfriend Danielle, we have been out to them many times so I know them both well on and off the field. I think both already want my shirt.”