SAINTS defender Ryan Dickson faces a reunion with his former club, Brentford, this weekend.

But just a few weeks ago it looked unlikely that he would get a chance to line up against his old side when they visit St Mary’s on Saturday.

Dickson joined Saints in the summer, making the move from Griffin Park after his contract expired.

The 23-year-old arrived on the south coast with an exciting reputation at League One level.

And ex-manager Alan Pardew gave Dickson the nod over incumbent left-back Dan Harding at the start of the season.

However, a shaky start to life at Saints saw him quickly dropped and Harding reinstated.

Other than the occasional late substitute appearance, Dickson quickly became conspicuous by his absence.

Until a second chance arrived a few weeks ago.

After Harding was dropped, following the 3-2 defeat at Carlisle last month, new boss Nigel Adkins drafted Dickson back in.

A good display in the 4-1 win over Peterborough gave him a platform to build from and Dickson followed that up with some assured performances in the games against Brighton and Cheltenham.

That seems to have nailed down the starting shirt and the Cornwall-born player is expected to continue at left-back this weekend – and that will mean Dickson lining up against Brentford for the first time ever in his career.

Although he started his career as a youngster at Plymouth, it was with the Bees where he started to really make his name.

Dickson joined the Londoners in November 2007 on an initial loan deal, which was quickly made permanent and he went on to make 96 appearances for Brentford, scoring three times along the way.

After some impressive displays against Saints last season, in a pair of 1-1 draws, Dickson caught the eye of Pardew.

Saints’ interest quickly became apparent and Dickson left Griffin Park in the summer, on what was officially a free transfer.

The reality, though, is that Saints will have to pay up to £250,000 for him.

As he was under 24 when he moved, Brentford were owed compensation for losing him.

A tribunal ordered Saints to pay £125,000 up front, with a series of clauses worth another £125,000 inserted into the deal.

One of those has already been activated, with Saints owing £25,000 as a result of Dickson making his tenth appearance for the club, in the 3-0 FA Cup win over Cheltenham.

The same sum will be due when Dickson makes his 20th, 30th and 40th appearances.

Another £25,000 will have to be paid if Saints win promotion to the Championship in the next three seasons.

The tribunal also set a 20 per cent sell-on clause into their ruling.