There was a time when the sight of Robbie Savage lining up against Aston Villa was almost a guarantee that they would not win.
That run came to an end at Villa Park in August, however. Villa beat Blackburn Rovers 1-0, thanks to a debut goal from Milan Baros and, for the first time in 18 matches for Leicester City and Birmingham City against Villa, Savage was finally silenced.
It was chiefly during the five Second City derby matches he played against them that Savage really got under Villa's skins. It is no coincidence that this season's first Premiership derby win over Blues last October should have come following Savage's departure.
But the attention-seeking chatterbox is certainly back on top of the agenda when Villa head for Ewood Park tomorrow evening.
Not only has the exiled former Wales international made headlines this week for his public row with compatriot Leighton James, but he stands to attract more attention were he to get booked.
Savage has been yellow-carded nine times this season and the next will earn a two-game ban. That is no surprise for a player who has clocked up close to a century of bookings in his 11 seasons in club football. The shock is that he has been on the nine-card mark for ten games.
To go so long without being booked proves the sort of restraint Savage can show when he tries. It is no wonder that Mark Hughes, his former Wales boss and now his club manager, offers the same sort of passionate defence of his fellow countryman that was once delivered by Blues boss Steve Bruce.
"I'm concerned about the treatment Robbie gets," said Hughes. "He's the injured party in a lot of cases, yet is portrayed as the guilty party.
"He admits he's been in situations he shouldn't have been in the past, but he's never been sent off in his club career and when he was sent off for Wales, he didn't deserve to be. He wants to get into people and tackle. That's his game, but people see him as an easy target and Robbie's reputation often goes before him."
Savage sometimes appears to revel in the attention, playing up to his portrayal as a pantomime villain at virtually every away ground he visits but, deep down, he is a massively insecure individual who constantly needs telling what a good player he is.
"For all the bravado, he's a sensitive soul and a likeable guy and when he is having a hard time, he can sometimes feel it and I do talk to him," said Hughes.
Whichever Savage comes up with against Gavin McCann and Steven Davis tomorrow, the Villa midfield are ready for it.
"Being aggressive and trying to wind players up is obviously a major part of Robbie Savage's game," said Davis. "But the couple of times I've come up against him, I've enjoyed the experience.
"A lot of people judge him on that side of his game, but it doesn't really bother me in the slightest.
"He's a quality player as well, so it will be a good battle in midfield. Rovers are tough and they're physical, but now they're starting to get the ball down and play a bit. It's good that we've got Gavin McCann, who is an unsung hero and does a very important job for us in there."
n Villa boss David O'Leary has dismissed reports that Gary Cahill did not play against Portsmouth last weekend because of his refusal to sign an new contract.
The 19-year-old defender has 14 months left on his current deal and O'Leary said: "I want to secure him for the future of this football club."
"The contract side of it hasn't been cleared up. Gary felt that, what with lacking match practice and with the contract thing in his head, he wasn't right to play.
"Whether we were going to play him was another thing, but that decided he wasn't going to be involved in the squad, once he'd aired those issues."