Kevin Foley was an excited man when the FA Cup Third Round draw paired Wolves with Luton and a trip to Kenilworth Road to face the club where he spent 13 years as a youngster and professional prior to moving to Molineux.
But with Wolves now coming off the back of a poor three-game losing run, Foley admits the personal significance of tomorrow’s game has been massively overshadowed by the need to return to winning ways.
Foley joined the Hatters as a nine-year-old before leaving for Wolves at the age of 22.
So of course it will be a special afternoon despite the circumstances, albeit one which requires a winning outcome!
“It was a great draw for me when it was made and I was excited about the tie and going back to Luton,” he said.
“But after our last three performances it has become far more significant and this is now a very big game for us.
“We need to win it – simple as that.
“The pressure will be on us and off Luton.
“We have to go down there, put in a performance and get through to the next round.
“I’m sure it will be a sellout tomorrow with a great atmosphere.
“We always had a fairly decent home record and they are always tough conditions for an away side with the Luton fans getting behind the team.
“But it is an experience a lot of us have gone through before.
“A lot of the players in our squad have come up through the lower leagues and gone on from there to play in big stadiums.
“So we should all be ready for what to expect and the fact we will have to battle it out with a team trying to cause a shock.”
The last time the two teams met Foley was on the opposite side of the line, turning out for Luton against Wolves in the Championship.
It was in the 2006/07 season, and threw up two tight contests which Wolves shaded on both occasions.
“I remember it was an exciting game at Kenilworth Road when Karl Henry got the winner and Wolves won 3-2,” Foley recalls.
“That was a big win for Wolves and was at the time they were just picking up and starting their push for the play-offs.
“Earlier in the season at Molineux Jemal Johnson got the winner in a very tight game.
“That season we ended up getting relegated and Wolves missed out in the play-offs.
“Not long after I was signed by Wolves and was delighted to join at the time and go on and have some success here.”
The Luton squad may have changed a great deal since Foley’s days at Kenilworth Road, and it is to his sadness that they are now a non-league side.
But his fond recollections of life at Luton have not faded.
“It is a special game for me but would certainly have been nicer going there with some wins behind us and in a better league position,” he explains.
“I was picked up by Luton when I was nine and ended up staying at the club until I was 22.
“The only player I still know there is reserve keeper Dean Brill and I also know the assistant manager Alan Nielson.
“But obviously I’ll have a lot of family and friends who will be at the game.
“So it will be a nice occasion but the be-all and end-all for us is to win the game – that is the most important thing.
“It has been unfortunate for Luton that they fell through the leagues and were deducted points at the start of seasons which was always going to make it difficult.
“Eventually they finished in the Conference and that seems to be a really tough league to get out of.
“With only one automatic promotion place it becomes very tough and the play-offs is always something of a Lottery.
“If there were two automatic promotion places I think they would be well up by now.
“Hopefully they will get back into the league as soon as possible.”
Foley continues: “Probably my best ever memory with Luton came in the FA Cup at Kenilworth Road when we played against Liverpool.
“It was in the Third Round in the evening on television under the lights.
“It was set up for a classic and it was.
“We were leading 3-1 but eventually lost 5-3 and it was a magnificent game – I remember Alonso and Gerrard scoring some great goals.
“It was the best game I was involved in with Luton even though we finished on the Luton side.”
With Foley expecting Luton to try and get his teeth into Wolves tomorrow afternoon, there will also be plenty of fans getting their teeth into some produce cooked by his mum Kathleen!
She still runs a café not far from Kenilworth Road!
“My Mum Kathleen runs a café called Snack Attack not far from the ground,” he confirms.
“She used to supply the players with baguettes after training and I think she still supplies food for the Police on matchdays.
“It’s been a good connection for me with Luton and I think a few of the players still go in there – I can imagine there has been a bit of banter going back and forth.
“She’ll be at the game tomorrow but I presume the café will be open .
“Get yourself in there, tell them I sent you and you’ll get a free baguette!
“Only joking, I’ll get in trouble for that.
“It’s been a good way of staying in touch with everything at Luton but tomorrow it’s all about us getting the win and getting into the next round.”