Ash Hunter took a year-and-a-half out of football to watch his beloved Nottingham Forest across the country – and is now set to make his 200th professional appearance against them.
The winger was released by Burton Albion at the age of 17 in 2014, but after dropping to non-league football and impressing at Ilkeston, he was snapped up by Town in 2015.
Before making the leap to full-time professional football four years ago, the Derby-born youngster spent time away from the game to watch Forest.
Now he is expected to be part of Town’s travelling party when they take on Forest at the City Ground – where he has only previously visited.
Hunter only found out about the draw courtesy of his friends and is relishing bringing up his 200th appearance against Forest.
If he also manages to be on the scoresheet, then his customary back-flip celebration will be on display.
Speaking at the club’s pre-season fans forum he said: “When the draw was made I was not actually watching it; I was on the toilet!
“I got a couple of phone calls off all my mates back home who were buzzing.
“I’m looking forward to the game, and if I score, I will celebrate because I haven’t played for them.
“But it will be special; when I was 17, after I was a second year scholar at Burton, I took a year-and-a-half off football to go and watch football and followed Forest round the country with all my mates so it will be a good night.”
Should Hunter find the net against Forest, then it will help to reach his new target in terms of goals.
He has netted nine times in his last two Town campaigns but, despite failing to hit his 10-goal tally in both the 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons, he is now setting his sights higher.
The attacker said: “Hopefully I can beat my target of 10 from last season.
“I will put it up to 15 this year.”