FORMER Newcastle Eagles star Richard Midgley will make his first return to the Metro Radio Arena tonight since his shock exit from Tyneside, but he is adamant there is no animosity. The Great Britain guard will come face to face with the franchise he deserted more than three months ago and, while some may be expecting fireworks, Everton’s Midgley is quick to quell the speculation.

But, after missing the Tigers’ last clash with Newcastle, the California graduate has confirmed he will make an appearance. ‘I will definitely be playing this time, and it will be the first time in Newcastle,’ he said. ‘I didn’t play last time, but it wasn’t because I was scared. It was a cup game and we were already out. I had stitches in my eye so there was no point in playing. I shouldn’t imagine they will give me a good reception.’

‘I don’t think they will cheer me or anything like that, but I’ve played in more hostile situations before. In college I played a couple of teams and they pretty much hated me, so it won’t be anything new.’

Midgley has enjoyed a prosperous run with his new teammates in Everton. He has bagged 131 points in only six games and has shot 48% from the bonus stripe.

‘This season has been good,’ added Midgley. ‘We’ve won our last three games in the league, and tomorrow will be a big test for this team. I played with Newcastle for three months, and they’ve added a top player to their team since. I haven’t heard too much about him (Steve Leven), but Chris Haslam has seen him play and by all accounts he is a real threat.’

Everton will be without star performer Haslam tonight as he continues his recovery from knee surgery that cut short his season two weeks ago. And, while there may be those on Tyneside who will be hoping to put Midgley off his stride with a hot reception, the 24-year-old is unfazed by the attention.

‘The fans won’t affect me, this isn’t such a big deal,’ continued Midgley. ‘I’ve seen the players a couple of times. I know the fans don’t like me but it’s different with the players.’