Perth Glory midfield maestro Neil Kilkenny will be out to inflict some pain on Melbourne City when he faces his former side at its home ground tonight for the first time since his controversial departure.

Kilkenny, who is thriving under coach Tony Popovic, left in acrimonious circumstances midway through last season after a public falling-out with coach Warren Joyce.

He has become one of the architects of Glory’s A-League revival, the main man in midfield, and will relish the chance to show City what they are missing.

He rubbed salt in the wound soon after signing for Glory, scoring in the 2-1 win in Perth last February. He was also at the centre of the one-goal victory at home last December. His celebrations in the first game showed Joyce what he thought, eyeballing the coach as he punched the air in celebration.

The fiery character will want to stamp his mark on the game early to maintain Glory’s four game unbeaten streak — a draw and three wins — at AAMI Park against City.

Popovic rested Kilkenny in last Sunday’s 4-3 comeback win over Western Sydney Wanderers after he had started in all 12 previous games and expects his midfielder to be at his best tonight.

He is set to roll out the big names such as Kilkenny, Diego Castro and Jason Davidson who both came from the bench against Wanderers, for the game earmarked as a must-win.

“He (Kilkenny) will be fresh and looking forward to this game,” Popovic said.

Kilkenny, 33, keeps up a constant on-field chatter and relishes the leadership role Popovic has handed him.

“He leads by example at training and in games,” Popovic said. “He’s been playing very well, I believe getting better with each game. He’s a ball-playing midfielder. It’s an important position the way we want to play.

“He is enjoying that responsibility especially if you consider in the last six weeks he’s had a young player with him quite often. That has helped our young players to mature and grow.

“He’s probably feeling very good physically. Most of all we hope he’s enjoying his football.

“He looks like he is, smiling and enjoying the role he’s playing, and we want that to continue for the rest of the year.”

In-form Craig Goodwin set up the opener and scored the winner as Adelaide United beat Western Sydney 2-1 last night for their third win in five games.