RICHARD Cresswell hopes that Danny Wilson’s first return to Hillsborough as Sheffield United manager will get him off the hook.
Blades striker Cresswell is used to getting stick from Owls supporters after a disappointing 18-month spell at Hillsborough 12 years ago. But Wilson, the manager who paid £1m to take Cresswell to Wednesday from York City, is about to lead the Blades out at Hillsborough for the first time since crossing the Steel City divide.
With the Blades having pushed the Owls out of the top two in recent weeks, Wilson is unlikely to get a hero’s reception, despite also serving the club as a player.
Cresswell said: “I will probably get a lot of stick off the Wednesday fans but a lot of the younger lads probably don’t even know that I played for Wednesday! I will let the gaffer take the stick for that one. It’s a long time ago but Danny took me there as a young lad from York,” he recalled. “It was back in the Premier League days and I was really grateful.
“They had some big players like (Paolo) Di Canio and (Benito) Carbone. Obviously I didn’t play very much but I came off the bench quite a bit and it was an experience. I moved on from there and had quite a successful career. So I appreciate Danny for taking me there.”
Wilson was sacked by the Owls just months before the club was relegated from the Premier League but has gone on to manage a variety of other clubs including Bristol City, Swindon, and the Milton Keynes Dons.
Cresswell says Wilson, 52, has a better knowledge of the game now and is more relaxed.
His attractive style of football is also winning over those United supporters who initially objected to his appointment as Blades manager.
“He’s not changed much,” said Cresswell. “He’s more relaxed and his knowledge of the game has grown and grown. He’s an experienced manager who has done it at all levels. Our lads believe in him and that is showing on the pitch.
“Being footballers, you want to go out there and pass the ball. Since day one he has wanted us to pass the ball and use it. The lads enjoy it and want to do that. Sometimes, they might give it away in bad areas but as the season has gone on, we have got better and better.”
The Blades surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 against the Owls at Bramall Lane in October but Cresswell said: “We are a different team now and we look stronger at the back. But we are not the finished product and the gaffer won’t let us think we’ve made it.”
Derby preview: Page 3.