[icWales] COLD-BLOODED Nick Kelly insists he will have no regrets about dumping his former team-mates out of the Principality Cup when he returns to his old stomping ground tomorrow.
The Pontypridd workhorse will square up to his ex-clubmates when the cup holders begin the defence of their title at Division One side Cross Keys.
Kelly, who played in last May's cup triumph, has also tasted cup glory with Keys when they reached the semi-finals in 1999 - held, coincidentally, at Sardis Road.
But he has warned his former team-mates not to expect any favours when he returns to Cross Keys for the first time since leaving 18 months ago.
"I won't feel at all guilty about knocking them out of the cup because at the end of the day, that is my job," said Kelly.
"I loved my time at Cross Keys and I have still got some good mates at the club.
"But I cannot let emotions get in the way of getting on with business when I am on the field. My head must rule my heart."
Kelly spent four years at Pandy Park before heading to Pontypridd and back to the Welsh Premiership in the summer of 2001 and admits he still has a soft spot for the Division One club.
"It's a great club to be a part of and in many ways is very similar to Pontypridd, just on a slightly smaller scale," said the 25-year-old.
"It is a really family orientated place where everyone is very close and I had four great years there. My fondest memory was when we reached the semi-final of the Swalec Cup three years ago.
"It was a fantastic occasion for everyone and the whole town came out to support us, it was great.
"I still keep in touch with a lot of the guys and the pre-match banter has already started.
"But I know how much this game will mean to them and how hard it is going to be. There has always been a good team spirit there and I have seen them a few times this season and that spirit is still there today.
"We know that as the cup holders we are there to be knocked down and this will be their cup final."
Pontypridd's preparations have been seriously hampered this week and they've been forced to ask scrum-half Paul John to fill the outside-half spot left by Ceri Sweeney and Neil Jenkins.
Sweeney is one of five Welsh squad members being rested ahead of the start of the Six Nations next week, while Jenkins is one of five casualties from the first team.
It also means that coach Lynn Howells has had to draft in three players from the Under-21 side, as well as a replacement hooker from Treorchy.
"It has been very difficult to prepare with all the enforced changes, especially when you don't have players in specialist positions," said Howells.
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