Crystal Palace assistant coach Keith Curle has mixed emotions ahead of Tuesday's Carling Cup tie with former club Torquay United on Tuesday.
Curle made 16 appearances for the Gulls in 1983-4, before returning for a brief spell as manager in 2007.
"It's always exciting to play against a team that you've played for and managed as well," he told BBC Devon.
"It was very difficult times when I was down there [as boss]. At the time it was nothing more than shambolic."
Curle's tenure at Plainmoor coincided with one of the worst periods in Torquay's history, culminating in them dropping out of the Football League in April 2007.
Unrest in the boardroom and uncertainty over the ownership of the club gave him an unstable base from which to rescue the Gulls from relegation.
Ultimately, the former England defender was unsuccessful and Torquay finished the 2006/7 season facing the prospect of Conference football after 80 consecutive years in the League.
Following Curle's departure, a consortium headed by Alex Rowe and Kris Boyce bought the club, installed Paul Buckle as manager and a period of calm returned.
Curle added: "It's pleasing that they've got a bit of stability put in place now with Colin Lee as chief executive and a new board of directors.
"One of the things that I learnt at Torquay is that to be successful as an individual you need to be at a football club that has a foundation, a vision for the future and ownership that wants to be progressive."
Despite the acrimonious circumstances in which Curle departed Torquay, the 45-year-old still has fond memories of the club.
"I enjoyed my time down there," he said. "They've got some fantastic supporters who are very loyal, spending a lot of money travelling the country supporting their team."
How will the Gulls fare in London? Tuesday's game at Selhurst Park will be the 60th time the two sides have met in all competitions, as well as being Torquay's first year back in the League Cup after a two-year absence.
And with the Eagles going out in the first round in two of the last three seasons, Curle is determined to get one over his former club.
"We're playing our full strength team," he said. "I think it's important for every team at the beginning of the season to get that first win.
"You want that winning mentality not only for the players but for everybody involved in the football club, what we're trying to create is a winning culture."