If Neil Danns believes in kismet then Birmingham City were always going to face Colchester on the opening day of the season.

Throw into the melting pot that the Essex club made an approach to talk to Blues assistant manager Eric Black about the possibility of becoming their new boss and there is plenty of spice bubbling under the surface.

When 23-year-old midfielder Danns moved from Layer Road to St Andrew's in June he did so in the hope of Premiership football next term.

Two seasons in League One with Colchester enabled him to develop as a player and earned him plaudits as the U's won promotion to the Championship for the first time in their history.

Blues manager Steve Bruce was suitably impressed and splashed out £500,000 but Danns can't leave his past behind just yet and Saturday's clash is an opportunity to show Colchester's fans just what they will be missing this term.

As well as Danns, Colchester have lost their talismanic manager Phil Parkinson and are already installed as the bookmakers' favourites to go down.

While Danns is fully focused on the task ahead - Blues' swift return to the Premier-ship - he is expecting a mutual appreciation society reunion with Colchester's travelling fans on Saturday.

"When the fixtures were announced I thought 'here we go!'" he said.

"I didn't leave under a cloud and I would expect a good reception, as I had a good relationship with the fans there.

"I appreciated them and hopefully they appreciated me. It will be nice to be reacquainted with some of the people who have helped me get to this point of my career. I have got so much respect for the team and staff, so it will be nice to see them.

"However, once that whistle goes, it is about Birmingham City. If I could score two goals against Colchester then that would be nice."

During his short time at Birmingham, Danns has already noticed an appreciable difference between the two clubs. They may be plying their trade in the same division but that is where the similarities end.

Colchester's compact Layer Road ground failed to attract an attendance of over 6,000 last season, as they finished second in League One.

Birmingham have already sold more than double that amount of season tickets and will be expecting a crowd in excess of 20,00 on Saturday.

Of course, Danns is no stranger to how the other half live after spending four years at Blackburn, which included a Uefa Cup appearance.

Nevertheless, after working under such a parsimonious budget, life at St Andrew's is a reminder of the benefits comparative wealth brings.

"The difference between the two clubs is very evident. Colchester just don't have the finances of Blues," said Danns.

"Don't get me wrong, Phil Parkinson was extremely professional and a massive influence on my career. He didn't know much about me when he signed me and took a gamble He was always helping me and pushing me and got the best out of me. "He did everything he could, but it was so different to Blues as, for instance, there were no training facilities. "We certainly wouldn't have gone on a pre-season tour of Spain as we always used to play a series of friendlies against local non-league teams. "All the facilities that we have at Wast Hills are really beneficial to us and you really notice the difference.

"There is also a better quality of players and a lot of them should be playing in the Premiership, so you improve on a daily basis working with people like that.

"Stating the obvious, there is a massive difference between the grounds too. We used to get around four and a half thousand at Layer Road but I can't wait to see St Andrew's when it is full."

Danns may be flabbergasted by the relative grandeur of his new surroundings but he is fully aware they come at a price.

Four years of Premiership cash has helped fund Birmingham's infrastructure and a swift return is the expectation of all concerned this term.

Whereas Colchester's season in the Championship will be regarded as an adventure, Danns knows that anything less than promotion will be regarded as failure.

"I am not expecting anything less than promotion for Birmingham City, like everyone else at the club," he said.

"There will be a lot of competition for places this year but the most important thing is promotion.

"Obviously it was a blow to lose Jermaine (Pennant). He has got so much quality that he was going to be a huge source of creativity for us.

"However, the manager has already brought some good players in and I am sure he will be bringing in one or two more before the end of August."

Blues have taken Celtic's 21-year-old Ross Wallace on a week's trial.

The left-sided player has fallen out of favour with Gordon Strachan and Bruce is running the rule over him at Wast Hills until next Tuesday.