By rights, they should be sworn enemies.
But Chris Wilder, Sheffield United manager, supporter and former player, last night revealed his deep respect for opposite number John Sheridan ahead of this afternoon’s game against Oldham Athletic at Boundary Park.
Sheridan, the former Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds midfielder, began his fourth spell in charge of the Greater Manchester club after replacing Steve Robinson earlier this year and has since guided them from 23rd to 20th in League One.
Wilder, whose team is six points clear at the top of the table, said: “Shez has gone in there and done brilliant yet again, I am not surprised. He’s shook the club up, they were going one way, and he has given them an unbelievable fighting chance of staying in the division.
“I believe they will stay up, regardless of the result on Saturday. He’s a proper manager, managed not just when he’s had money. You can sit in a boozer with him, have a drink, and talk football with him - he’s a proper football lad, I really like him.”
Despite being on rivals sides of the Steel City divide - Sheridan makes no secret of where his allegiances in South Yorkshire lay after seven years at Hillsborough - Wilder admires the 52-year-old’s achievements in the technical area.
“He went to Plymouth and sorted them out, got them in the position they are in now,” Wilder said. “That is mainly due to John Sheridan, what he did and what he put in place.
I played against him when he played for Leeds United as a kid. I played for Sheffield United in 1987 I think, they had Dennis Irwin, Shez, Tommy Wright, players like that. He’s had a great career, gets his hands dirty, and I like him.”