Josh Onomah has expressed his admiration for Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce as he looks forward to a reunion with the Championship promotion hopefuls this weekend.
The midfielder spent the 2017/18 season on loan with Villa, making 33 Championship appearances in their promotion tilt.
Onomah enjoyed working alongside Bruce, who led the Midlands club to the Play-Off Final.
"Steve Bruce is an amazing guy," he told The Star. "On and off the pitch, he always made sure that I was feeling good. I learned a lot from him."
Bruce was taunted by his own fans in the wake of Saturday's draw at Blackburn Rovers. Some of the club's travelling supporters were angered by the team's performance and vented their frustration at Bruce, chanting “you're getting sacked in the morning”.
After a five-match winless run, Villa returned to winning ways on Tuesday. Goals from Tammy Abraham and Yannick Bolasie helped Villa see off Rotherham United and ease the pressure on Bruce.
Onomah: "Steve has a lot of experience. He has won a lot of promotions. I'm sure he knows what he's doing and he will come back from this."
The England Under-21 international, who made his first Wednesday start in their away defeat at Nottingham Forest in midweek, is relishing his Villa Park return.
"It will be strange going there because I have never played against a club who I have been at before," he conceded. "I'm excited and hopefully I can play a part in that game.”
When asked what sort of reception he expects, Onomah said: "I'm not sure. It could go either way but I'm still looking forward to playing there."
Onomah featured 37 times for Villa in all competitions.
He said: "I learned a lot last season. It was my first season in the Championship.
"It is a very tough, competitive league. I learned a lot from all the staff, especially Steve Bruce and all the experienced players there like John Terry. It was a very beneficial loan for me."
There was, however, no happy ending for Onomah as Villa missed out on promotion to the Premier League after losing 1-0 to Fulham in the showpiece Wembley final.
"It was heartbreaking," admitted Onomah. "We worked hard all season to get there. We were just unfortunate not to cross the finish line."
The second-tier is a demanding, unforgiving league, according to Onomah.
He said: "Mental toughness is important. Games come thick and fast so you have to be mentally strong and prepare your body right. You have to make sure you are in the best shape for every game."
Central midfielder Onomah showed glimpses of his ability on the ball versus Forest but he was partially at fault for the home side's opener, giving away a needless free-kick deep inside Wednesday's half. Forest profited from the set play, with Lewis Grabban glancing in Ben Osborn's inswinging delivery.
Jos Luhukay, the Wednesday manager, said: "It was Josh’s first 90 minutes, but he was not so lucky in the important moment where Nottingham Forest scored the first goal.
“But we made three, four, five, six stupid fouls on the side in the first half where the opponents were on the attack against our defenders. You must have the patience and the timing to defend aggressively and win the ball in the one-against-ones. We did not make good decisions.”