Earlier this week, the former Stoke City goalkeeper became Heckingbottom’s first new signing since taking permanent charge of first team affairs following Slavisa Jokanovic’s departure in November - agreeing a short-term contract until the end of the campaign.
But three months before arriving at Bramall Lane, Davies played for Michael O’Neill’s side against United - producing a fine save to deny Billy Sharp before late strikes from Lys Mousset and David McGoldrick cancelled-out Jacob Brown’s opener.
Reflecting on that experience as Heckingbottom’s side prepared for this evening’s game at Peterborough, Davies told The Star: “Every time I’ve played at the Lane, it’s been an unbelievable experience. The fans are second to none and the (Greasy Chip Butty) song before kick-off, it’s just everything really. I’m looking forward to getting going. I want to buy into the club. Not just play for us.”
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Aged 29, Davies was a member of the Barnsley squad Heckingbottom steered to an EFL Trophy and League One play-off double in 2016. Although the two men later went their separate ways - Davies joining City after the 44-year-old’s switch to Leeds - they remained in touch before United offered him the chance to join Heckingbottom’s squad when Robin Olsen’s loan from AS Roma was terminated.
“I know Hecky well and he knows me,” Davies continued. “I know what he wants, day in and day out, so it will be easy to slot into the working day here.
“I’m sure he’s changed a few of his views on things over the years, because that happens. But I know quite a few of the backroom staff here as well. So that’s good.”
Now, rather than attempting to damage their hopes of an immediate return to the Premier League, Davies has set his sights on helping United regain the top-flight status they surrendered last season.
Admitting he had closely followed his new employers march out of the Championship, before flirting with Europe under Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder, Davies said: “I already know quite a few of the lads and they’ve been on a fantastic journey. The core of that group is still here and so hopefully we can go on another one now.”
“I’ve not mentioned that game to anyone,” he added, reflecting on City’s defeat by United in October. “And the lads, Lys and David, they’ve not mentioned it to me either. We haven’t spoken about it.”
With Wes Foderingham excelling in Olsen’s absence - the Swede was ruled through injury and illness before leaving for Aston Villa - Davies is expected to start on the bench at London Road.
United prepared for the contest in 12th, eight points behind sixth-placed Huddersfield but having played three matches fewer than Carlos Corberan’s men ahead of their clash with City last night.
“We has been doing brilliant,” Davies said. “So it’s my job now to support him and also try and get into the team.
“We’re right in the mix aren’t we. Consistency is key in this league and, if you can get that, then you soon start to shoot up it.”