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Stern John risks a major falling out with friends and neighbours if he serves up a repeat performance at St Andrews on Wednesday night.

Accorded hero status by Blues fans when finishing top-scorer in the 2003-04 campaign, the Trinidad & Tobago star was just as quckly cast in the role of villain following a subsequent move to Sunderland.

Although home supporters gave him a warm reception on his return to Birmingham, they were not so forgiving after he scored an injury-time equaliser for the Black Cats in a Premier League fixture on August 15, 2007.

Having deprived his former club of two valuable points, John was wary of stepping outside his front door in the days that followed the 2-2 draw.

He recalled: "I was still living in Birmingham and virtually all my neighbours and friends were Blues fans. Although they'd wished me good luck before the game, I don't think they really meant it. They were queuing up to give me stick after I scored for Sunderland. To be fair to them, I think I might have celebrated a little too much after putting the ball in the net and that did me no favours!"

John may have since moved to Bristol City via Southampton, but little has changed. He still lives with his family in the heart of England's second city and he says he is quite prepared for history to repeat itself should he be summoned from the substitutes' bench.

"I had a wonderful time at Birmingham and have a lot of close friends in the area, but I'm a professional footballer and my job is to score goals for Bristol City," said the veteran striker.

"I'm sure I'll get a load of stick from my neighbours and all those Blues fans who know me, but if the opportunity presents itself to score, I'll not hesitate. If I do manage to score another winner for the opposition at St Andrews, they'll probably run me out of town."

Having performed a sterling job as Birmingham's attacking fulcrum between 2002 and 2004, John was taken aback when then-Blues boss Steve Bruce sold him to Coventry City and signed ageing French international Christophe Dugarry as a replacement. Yet the 32-year-old Trinidadian insists he is not bitter and laughs off suggestions that tonight's game represents some kind of revenge mission.

He reasoned: "I don't have anything to prove to Birmingham City. I enjoyed my time there and scored a lot of goals for them.

"They decided they wanted to go down a different route and that was their prerogative.

"I moved on and had success with Sunderland, so there are no regrets as far as I'm concerned."

Soon to be out of contract and surplus to requirements at Southampton – the Championship strugglers cannot afford John's wages – the much-travelled forward is eager to land a permanent deal at Ashton Gate.

But he acknowledges the need to contribute more goals if he is to convince City boss Gary Johnson. Since joining the Robins in October, John has netted twice and he admitted: "I could do with scoring a few more between now and the end of the season.

"But I've lost my place in the team and, because we're going so well, it has been difficult getting back in. You can't argue with our recent record and Dele Adebola has been playing out of his skin."

City remain in the play-off positions, seven points behind second-placed Birmingham and still ideally-placed to challenge.

"Of course it was frustrating to only take a point against Blackpool, but it's not the end of the season," said John. "Had we drawn at Reading and then beaten Blackpool, everyone would be perfectly happy.

"It's just the way the Championship is. The top teams can easily lose to teams at the bottom of the table and there are always surprises.

"I've seen it all before in this league and, believe me, we have as good a chance of making the play-offs as anyone else."