Two of the hardest men in Soap-Land are set to face-off in a dramatic confrontation.

Nick Cotton has been living on borrowed time, hiding out in his mum’s house, but after his nemesis Phil Mitchell, discovers him there, things go from bad to worse.

Nick, who has earned the nickname Nasty Nick due to his manipulation and treatment of his long-suffering mum Dot Cotton, finds hiding out too stifling.

When he nips out for a stroll, eagle-eyed Ian Beale spies him and is quick to let Albert Square’s toughie Phil Mitchell know and an unpleasant confrontation is soon on the cards.

Phil Mitchell and Nick Cotton square up

Phil Mitchell and Nick Cotton square up

Nick was originally thought to have gone to meet his maker and his mother and son scattered his ashes. However, the notorious character made a return to the Square on Hallowe’en. John Altman, who plays Nick Cotton, said: “After a five-year break I’m very pleased and much looking forward to returning to EastEnders. With the promise of some hard hitting and gritty storylines I’m sure the residents of Albert Square will be none too pleased to see Nick Cotton back on the streets of Walford.”

How and why Nick returned to the Square remains to be revealed, but it is bound to bring more heartache for long-suffering Dot Cotton.