Matthew Mills is relishing his return to Southampton this afternoon – and hoping to come up against his younger brother.

Mills, now 24, came up through the youth ranks at Saints and made four first team appearances before he moved on to Manchester City for around £250,000 in 2006.

He will return to St Mary’s this afternoon as part of the Reading side that takes on Saints in a pre-season friendly.

He is likely to come up against his younger brother, Joseph, who has been impressing this summer on the left of midfield in Adam Lallana’s injury-enforced absence.

If Lallana does not recover in time, then Joseph Mills – nicknamed ‘Fish’ – is in line to start next Saturday’s Sky-televised League One curtain-raiser against Plymouth at St Mary’s.

Mills senior said: “Hopefully Joseph will play a part for them.

“I played against him when I was at Doncaster and also in a game for our reserves last season.

“The reserve game was a funny one, though.

“Joseph was just breaking into the first-team at Saints and every time he got the ball I just wanted him to do well.

“It was a strange experience.

“I always look out for him and want him to do well.

“He’s enjoying his football down at Southampton now.”

Matthew Mills moved to Manchester City on the recommendation of Steve Wigley, who helped develop him at Saints and then moved north to assist Stuart Pearce.

But things didn’t really work out for him there and after a series of loan spells Sean O’Driscoll snapped him up for Doncaster, paying a then club record fee of £300,000 to secure his services.

O’Driscoll had previously taken Matthew Mills to Bournemouth on loan when he was manager at Dean Court.

It was at Rovers that Mills really established himself as a first team regular and, after an impressive 2008/09 season, there were plenty of suitors for him.

Nottingham Forest, Birmingham and Newcastle were all interested but it was Reading who signed him for a cool £2m.

But, despite all that, Mills hasn’t forgotten that it all started for him back in Southampton.

“We’ve got our dad and two older brothers coming down to watch this one,” explained Matthew Mills.

“The result in football always takes care of itself and my family won’t really be bothered who wins as long as we both play.”