Phil Jones insists that Blackburn will present Manchester United with a tough contest on Monday.
Jones joined United in the summer from Rovers, and is now embarking on his first taste of a title battle.
The England international remembers being part of the Blackburn team in 2010 that helped deny United in a goalless draw which played its part in Chelsea beating them to the title.
Now Jones is facing the encounter from the other side and is wary of his ex-employers.
"No game is easy in the Premier League," he said. "The teams we have got coming up are scrapping for their lives.
"It is nice to be top but we can't keep looking at the table because we have a long way to go before we are anywhere near to picking up that trophy."
And, with Blackburn battling relegation, he is anticipating a difficult match, adding: "It is a really tough place to go to start with, and it is Manchester United.
"It is a local derby and the build-up is all about pressing and how you can stop them from playing. It will be no different this week.
"They will be getting their tactics sorted and we need to be right at the top of our game to overcome that."
Jones insists that Blackburn boss Steve Kean has turned things around, commenting: "They had a really tricky start to the season.
"Steve Kean got a lot of stick and came under a lot of pressure.
"But you don't hear a lot about Blackburn or their manager these days. He has turned it around and deserves a lot of credit for that.
"He got the players working the way he wants them.
"They have picked up a lot of victories lately and we need to be aware of that going into the game."
Jones still has many friends at Ewood Park, but all loyalties will be set aside on Monday evening.
"I keep in contact with quite a few of the lads and I have spoken to a few of the lads," he said.
"They are a great bunch and will always be my friends. But not in the last week. I don't want to give anything away - and nor do they."