DEAN Bennett will be 'gutted' if a back injury robs him of the opportunity to put one over his old club on Sunday.
The former Wrexham midfielder was snapped up on a two-year deal by Chester boss Mark Wright this summer after being deemed surplus to requirements at the Racecourse.
Bennett has been looking forward to facing his old employers since the League Two fixture list was unveiled in June - but now he could be forced to sit the game out.
A back problem forced him off after 47 minutes of Saturday's 2-0 loss at Hereford United and, so far this week, he has been unable to train.
'I'm keeping my fingers crossed,' said Bennett, whose two-year stay with Wrexham was disrupted by injury problems. 'I'd be gutted if I don't play but if it's not right, it's not right. We've got a lot of games coming up and I suppose the manager wants me fully fit.'
Bennett's injury could hardly have come at a worse time.
He followed up his man-of-the-match display against Accrington Stanley with another good contribution against Bury as the Blues opened up the season with back-to-back wins.
The 28-year-old's performances were so good that Wright was unable to find a place for new signing Ricky Ravenhill in midfield. But the on-loan Doncaster man will be favourite to replace Bennett if he fails to recover in time for Sunday's derby.
With Leeds United next up after the Wrexham game, Bennett could find himself kicking his heels for two of Chester's biggest games of the season.
Wright, however, remains a big admirer of the Wolverhampton-born ace.
In last week's Chronicle, he claimed Bennett 'wasted' two years of his career at Wrexham by being deployed at right wing-back, rather than his preferred position in the centre of midfield.
And the player himself agrees. 'It's a fair comment,' said Bennett. 'I'd always played centre midfield but at Wrexham I didn't play there once in two years.
'Coming back and playing there in pre-season, I was just getting used to it again.
'I'm really enjoying it at the moment. You can tend to drift in and out of games at right wing-back because you're stuck out there. In the middle of the park, you're involved all the time and that's what I like.'
So, providing he recovers in time, does Bennett feel he has a point to prove on Sunday?
'Definitely, yes,' said the midfielder. 'When you leave another club you want to show them what they're missing. 'But as long as we win - whether I play or not - I'll be happy.'