WHEN Steven Caldwell and Wade Elliott look back on their careers, guiding Burnley to the Premier League via the play-offs will undoubtedly be a highlight.
Against Sheffield United at Wembley, in May 2009, Elliott’s stunning first half goal was enough to blunt the Blades.
Captain Caldwell led the way up the steps to the Royal Box to receive the trophy, sparking scenes of jubilation in the claret and blue half of the national stadium.
But for the duo tomorrow, it’s all about Birmingham.
Their friends in the Clarets camp, however, are in no mood to spread Christmas cheer.
For their pal and former Turf Moor team-mate Martin Paterson, it’s all about stopping them.
“It’s fantastic to see them two both playing and both doing well, but obviously come Saturday I won’t be speaking to them,” smiled the striker, who played alongside Caldwell for two years and Elliott for three, and whose 19 goals in 2008/09 were key to the Clarets’ promotion charge.
“The skipper and Wadey were fantastic for the football club, great servants.
“The skipper was here for four years and Wadey was here a little bit longer.
“I thought they were both excellent professionals and fantastic players for the football club and played in a team that was a little bit special.”
Such is Paterson’s reverence for the former captain who he’ll go toe-to-toe with this afternoon, he cannot shake the moniker.
“He’ll still be skipper,” the striker said.
“I think he’s earnt that throughout his career.
“He’s had a great career, Mr Caldwell, and was a fantastic captain when he was here during the promotion season. I still call him skipper.
“He has earned that right.”
Yet while Caldwell was a commanding presence on the pitch, Paterson revealed he was not the authoritarian you might expect as a captain off it.
“He was a very quiet man,” Paterson said.
“He wasn’t an obvious leader, he’s a very quiet, intelligent man – quite an introvert as a leader as well, which is strange.
“But he let people get on with things.
“He was a ‘steady Eddie’ – always a seven out of 10 every week.”
Elliott is a different, unpredictable animal, and Paterson will be warning current team-mates who arrived after the wing wonder left for Birmingham back in August 2011 that he is one to watch.
“Wadey had that little bit of craft that was special for us at the time,” said the former Stoke and Scunthorpe striker.
“I think he was one of the most under-rated players and still is.
“He’s a danger man, and could be today.”
But Paterson is confident that Clarets have enough in their own armoury to kick-start a run of positives results at St Andrew’s.
“Without feeling sorry for ourselves I don’t think we’ve got the rub of the green that we’ve deserved at times,” said the Northern Ireland international, who feels the players are adjusting after a mid-season change of management.
“They’re two different managers,” added Paterson of old boss Eddie Howe and new manager Sean Dyche. “Two different kinds of people, different ideas, different ways of doing things.
“For us as players it’s important that when a new manager comes in you try to do what he wants and I think the team are very close to doing that.
“You could probably say we were guilty previously of being ‘total football’ and trying to play a little bit too much.
“I think now we’ve kind of got a balance to our play that’s suiting everyone. We just need that little bit of luck and maybe ruthlessness, but I think it’s more that little bit of luck with conversions, and we’ll be in with a good shout of having a cheeky little run.
“A win away at Birmingham would be fantastic for trying to start that.”
He added: “The league continues to get closer and closer as the years go on.
“The good thing is if you do go on a three to five-game run you could end up anywhere – especially in the play-offs, where I think quietly we’re quite confident that if we do piece everything together we’ll have half a chance of that.”