It has been two years since Sam Baldock last set foot on the stadiummk pitch, on that day he netted a hat-trick against Chesterfield and one week later he was unveiled as a West Ham United player.
A lot has happened since that day in August 2011; Sam experienced promotion to the Premier League with West Ham United before moving to Bristol City last year, only to suffer relegation from the Championship.
Through it all though, MK Dons have remained at the forefront of Sam’s mind, not least because his brother George has been in and around the first team for a number of seasons. And this Saturday the two brothers could come up against each other for the first time.
Speaking exclusively to mkdons.com Sam, who was famously the Club’s first home-grown player to graduate through the Academy, said: I have never played against George or as many people who I would class as friends before.
"My parents have watched MK Dons a lot more than they have watched Bristol City so I would imagine their loyalties would probably sway towards Milton Keynes, but in terms of sibling rivalry I can’t imagine they will be picking a team.”
In the early days George lived in the shadow of his older brother, but since Sam’s departure he has been able to showcase his own talents during loan spells at Northampton Town, Tamworth and IBV as well as, more recently, in the Dons’ first team.
The midfielder has rightly earned the affection of the Dons supporters and Sam is delighted to see his brother pushing for a regular starting XI spot.
Sam added: “George has made his name his own way, rather than when he was growing up and I was still there he was always seen as my brother who has potential. Now he has made his own way.
“He’s not the kind of character who will let my history at the Club bother him too much; he is determined to make his name his own way. We are completely different players as well so on the pitch we don’t have that many similarities except maybe our fight and passion.
“In terms of on the pitch I can’t imagine we will come in to contact too much depending on what position he would be playing in because we would seem to be at opposite ends of the pitch. He has already told me that if there is a 50/50 challenge he’s going to smash me! As soon as we cross the line, it is game on, for 90 minutes he is the opponent that’s all that matters.”
The 24-year-old admits his return to stadiummk hasn’t come the way he thought it would – he had hoped the Dons would gain promotion and that City would maintain their Championship status – but nevertheless he is eager to see old friends and supporters once more.
“It’s not how I imagined playing MK Dons, I thought it would be at Championship level or higher, but the way that it has panned out I will be play at the level that I left the Club at. I’m looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces that were there cheering me on and helped me in my career path – like Karl, the Chairman and Simon and Adam (medical team) did. After the game I’ll see everyone but beforehand I’ll be focused because I am there to do a job.”
While the potential duel with his younger brother will be the main focus ahead of the match for the media and fans alike, Sam has other thoughts occupying his mind.
The striker now wears the captain’s armband for Bristol City, who are yet to record a League win in their opening three Sky Bet League 1 matches, and he is determined to get his side up the table.
He added: "All of my memories at stadiummk are good memories, the fans were always fantastic with me and it will be good to play in front of the Cowshed again. I’m looking forward to it, but our main focus has to be trying to get out first win of the season. I can’t afford think about anything else on the day.
“We need to get it right and have that positive attitude and fight from the beginning. We don’t feel like we’re far off where we need to be, we had a good pre-season but that isn’t always reflected in the season. We’re under no illusions as to how tough this League is going to be.”