The former Bristol City team-mates have been close friends since spending the first half of the 2019-20 season together at Ashton Gate under Lee Johnson.
The Irishman, winner of Colchester United’s 2015 Young Player of the Year award, signed with the U in the summer before Brownhill moved to the Premier League with the Clarets seven months later.
It gave the Burnley midfielder time to research the East Lancashire rivalry and understand its relevance in those parts, while Szmodics had less time to digest history after making the move from Peterborough United at Ewood Park this summer.
After the Instagram post caused some backlash, Brownhill joked, “I told him not to post it! Sammie [Szmodics] is a very good friend of mine, one of my best friends in football, and when he signed for Blackburn I was delighted for him but told him he had gone the wrong way. I told him that we couldn’t be friends anymore.
“I understand it, I’ve been here for a few years now, I understand how big the rivalry is and obviously he realized very quickly that it’s a big rivalry. We’re both excited to play, for I want to get bragging rights, so when that day comes, our friendship will go through the window.
“It was [surprised by the reaction]. He didn’t really understand how passionate the fans were, but he soon realized they didn’t want to see this. Although we are friends, I get along very well with his family and our girlfriends get along well, but he now understands perfectly. He won’t post anymore! We can’t be friends anymore.”
Brownhill, who has nine goals for Burnley this season, played alongside Szmodics three times for Robins, including a defeat at the hands of Rovers almost three years ago.
But this will be the first time the pair have been opposite each other. With just three more points on the line, the 26-year-old Manchester City supporter said: “We left it as the game approached because you don’t want to talk about it. We’re delighted for the day.
“I’m happy he got the shot he deserved because he’s a very good player, but I hope the day he doesn’t play at his maximum and we can get past him. I don’t didn’t talk before the game, but I’ll talk to him after.
“If there’s a 50/50 between me and him, I’m sure I’ll go all the way and he will too. We’ll make it up to you later when the emotions have calmed down and I hope I’ m on the right side.”