Burnley’s record sale Michael Keane admits he is “excited” ahead of his first return to Turf Moor with Everton.
Keane joined the Toffees for an initial £25m in the summer after three years with the Clarets, where he helped Burnley win the Championship title, earn Premier League survival for the first time, and claim his first England caps.
He comes back to Burnley in his best vein of form since his switch, having started eight of the last 10 games under Sam Allardyce.
And while he is looking forward to a reunion with some old teammates, he is determined to help end Everton’s away day woes.
The Goodison Park outfit have won only once on the road so far this season, at Newcastle, and Keane told evertontv: “I hope I get a good reception [from the Burnley supporters].
“You never know what to expect but I feel like I have a good relationship with all the fans, and it would be nice.
“I am excited, when the fixture list first came out it was the first one I looked for. I was at Burnley for three years and had a great time there.”
And he expects a battle, whether he is up against Ashley Barnes, Sam Vokes or Chris Wood: “It will be a physical game and I know what to expect,” added Keane. "They are not easy to play against, they will throw themselves everywhere – all over you. They will challenge in the air, but they have got quality as well.
"I do not think they get the credit they deserve for being good footballers. They are good players and we have to be wary of them.
“The fans get behind them and they really go for it there.
“We know what to expect, they will get in our faces and make it difficult for us.
“It is going to be a battle, it is going to be a freezing cold and probably windy day at Turf Moor. But we will relish the challenge.
“I really enjoy those types of games and, hopefully, we can get on top of them and our quality can shine through.”
Keane’s first season as Goodison hasn’t been plain sailing, after the departure of Ronald Koeman in October.
He has since played under caretaker David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce, in different systems, but admits he feels at home now, and is in his best form in a blue shirt: “Yes, definitely. I feel like I have really settled in now and started to play the best football I have played since I have been here, consistently.
“It does not help when the team loses [as at Watford] but I have been reasonably pleased with how I have been playing. I know I can still improve and I am working hard to do that.
“But I think, in general, the team has been doing a bit better lately and we just need to keep that going.
“The lads are desperate to do well away from home. I think, even though the result wasn’t good at the weekend [against Watford], the performance was a bit better than it has been away from home lately.
"So, hopefully, we can improve again. We know it is going to be a tough game, we know what to expect from Burnley. Hopefully we can go there, impose our game on them and get the three points.”