Etuhu began his career with City and played for them in the FA Youth Cup final in 2005/06, where they lost 3-2 to Liverpool on aggregate.
He now looks set to face them at the Etihad on Saturday evening as the Tykes bid to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 2008, where they were beaten to a place in the final with a 1-0 defeat by Cardiff.
A good cup run for Barnsley is a welcome tonic as their form in the league has left them in the bottom three and one point from safety.
But for Etuhu, the game against Roberto Mancini's side is much more personal after he left the club two years ago following loan spells at Rochdale, Leicester and Cardiff.
"Yes it's a big game for me, it's my old club and every football player wants to impress when they go back to their old club," Etuhu said.
"But it's a big occasion for every player in the squad and the coaching staff. We want to get into the next round, that's the main thing.
"I've got a few mates who are still there, Joleon Lescott, Joe Hart, my best friend Micah Richards, he's a very close friend of mine.
"We speak to each other most days, so it will be good to see them again.
"It's a shame Micah won't be playing because he's out due to an injury, but I'll be looking out for those three to say hello to.
"It would be nice to turn them over and get a result and I'm looking forward to the game."
The difference between the spending power of the two clubs is vast, but Etuhu believes Barnsley's spirit could help them to get an edge over the Premier League side.
He said: "The first thing you must talk about is the budget. They have a huge budget and world class players as you know.
"But we've got something in our team that not a lot of others have, we've got a huge team spirit.
"Everybody's together. Everyone wants to do well and wants everyone else to do well and that's a huge trait that you need in your team."