Plymouth Argyle boss Steven Schumacher says he still gets help from "best mate" Ryan Lowe as they prepare to meet for the first time as managers.
The Pilgrims travel to Championship rivals Preston on Saturday, the club Lowe left Argyle for in December 2021.
Schumacher had been Lowe's assistant since taking over at Bury in 2018 before joining Argyle a year later.
"Since we split he's always on the phone, saying congratulations last year when we were winning," Schumacher said.
"I was always picking up the phone to him saying the same, we bounce things off each other and I think that's important.
"When I first took the job I said to him I'm going to need his help and I've needed that over the last 21 months.
"Ryan leaving the way he did it didn't sit well with a lot of people, but for him personally I think it was a good move, it was a chance for him to go and manage in the Championship close to home, which is important.
"And if it wasn't for Ryan then I wouldn't be here and if it wasn't for me getting the opportunity to be the manager then the coaching staff that we've put together wouldn't be here and we might not be in this position, so everything happens for a reason."
Schumacher led Argyle to first place in League One last season after a thrilling title race
Schumacher had never managed a side before taking over from Lowe, but has established himself as one of the most promising young coaches in the EFL having guided an unfancied Argyle to the League One title last season ahead of Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday.
Plymouth are 10th in the Championship this campaign, having won two of their five matches, and also fell to stoppage-time defeats against Southampton and Birmingham City.
Unbeaten Preston are top of the early-season table with four victories and one draw.
Schumacher says the grounding he got under fellow Merseysider Lowe has helped him have the success he has seen so far in Devon.
"I always said I wanted to be the best possible coach that I could become," he added to BBC Radio Devon.
"I learned loads being a number two and assistant and watched what Ryan did for the three-and-a-half years that we worked together and learned a few things off him.
"When the opportunity was given to me to become the manager I greatly accepted it.
"It was a big risk, I could have been Ryan's number two again for years, but it was a big risk to step out on my own, but it's one I've enjoyed and so far it's going okay."
Schumacher is keen that the focus for Saturday's game is on the field rather than on the two opposing dugouts.
"It's not all about him and me, let's not forget it's two teams, it's Preston North End against Argyle," he added.
"They've had a brilliant start to the season, they're top of the league, they're unbeaten.
"We know they're going to be really hard to play against and I'm looking forward to the game.
"It's a big test for us going away, it's going to be a good atmosphere and it's a huge challenge, so hopefully we're ready for it."