It has been five years in the waiting, but Tony Mowbray makes his first return to Middlesbrough as a manager tomorrow afternoon.

Boro are very much Mowbray’s club, having watched from the terraces with his dad before playing 425 times in a decorated 12 year spell as a player prior to a three year spell in charge between 2010 and 2013.

Mowbray’s family are still based in his native Teesside, though he revealed this eldest son won’t be attending today's game.

Although his sons wear Rovers shirts adorned with 'Dack 23' on the back, Mowbray holds no grudges or malice towards his former employers.

“The most difficult thing for my kids was when I lost my job,” he told the Lancashire Telegraph.

“My kids were at an age at school where it can be difficult, especially my eldest who is 14 now and would have been nine so found that tough because kids can be quite cruel. I think that probably left a scar on my eldest lad.

“So this weekend my wife and my two youngest will be coming to the match, my eldest isn’t.

“I feel as if he’s not a Boro fan in his mind, even though I would tell my kids to support Boro.

“But my eldest walks round with his ‘Dack 23’ shirt on. He’s not a Boro fan because of what they did to his dad, or how he perceived it, but that’s football management and I have no malice against anyone.

“(Boro chairman) Steve Gibson is a great man and done a great job for 30 years at that football club and I don’t have any malice, or grudges, that’s not my personality.

“But I can’t tell my 14-year-old lad to put a Boro shirt on, it is what it is, that’s life. Kids are impressionable. At the minute they all have ‘Dack 23’ shirts.”

In the same way Mowbray regales the names of John Hickton, Willie Maddren and Graeme Souness from his days on the terraces, his name probably adorns many a story from the late 1980s as he helped lead a Boro revival back to the top flight.

But the 55-year-old admits that many of those in the stands won’t be old enough to remember his time as a player at the club’s old Ayresome Park ground.

“We created our own history for a few years, but that’s two generations down the line,” he explained.

“People who go to watch Boro now and bang the drum and wave the flags, they probably wouldn’t even be able to tell you where Ayresome Park is on a map.

“Maybe the history has been passed down from their dad.

“I’m just another guy, (Aitor) Karanka and Garry Monk have been back, I’m just the next ex-Boro manager trying to find a performance from his team and find a result.”

Mowbray’s affinity to Boro won’t stop him looking to inflict a second successive defeat on them, as he looks to build a bright future at Rovers.

But recalling his times watching from the stands, he added: “I tried and get a squeeze in the turnstile, your dad would pay and you’d try and squeeze in with him. I don’t know if I should be saying that, they might be after some money from me!

“I remember being one of 30,000 and getting carried by the sway of the terraces when a shot or cross comes in. Those are the memories I have, being in the middle of a crowd.

“It is more than just the next game because it’s Boro, it’s the team I have supported all my life, but I like to think of myself as a professional guy giving everything I can for this football club to try and take it on a journey back towards the Premier League.

“After the 90 minutes we move on to our next games, our seasons will go where they go and we will look to hang on to the coat-tails of these teams and try and make it an exciting second half of the season.”