The big defender played in numerous Midlands derbies against City when the atmosphere would have tipped the balance.
Of course, we've already encountered it last season when even boss Glenn Hoddle commented on how the home crowd inspired City to a 1-1 draw after we'd gone ahead.
So it's bound to be fever pitch on opening day. "The crowd has a big part to play up there," said Dean.
"I had a few local derbies against them with Wolves and if you can get on top of them and quiet the crowd down, it can be a key factor, otherwise they really get behind them.
"They will be right up for it, especially on the first day of the season, so it's important we start well, defend well and don't give anything away early on.
"It will be a tough start and we won't underestimate them.
"They are an improved side and one thing you know up there is that you'll be in for a battle - they will work hard an put you under pressure. The early stages will be important."
Dean Richards speaks with more experience than most at the Lane when he underlines the part the crowd plays at St Andrews.