Chris Wilder backs rival boss John Sheridan to steer Oldham to safety

Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder. Picture: Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage
Sheffield United manager, Chris Wilder. Picture: Jamie Tyerman/Sportimage
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STEEL CITY rivals Chris Wilder and John Sheridan renew a 40-year rivalry on Saturday when Sheffield United visit Oldham Athletic.

When playing for the club he now manages, Blades boss Wilder played against Sheridan back in 1987, when the former Republic of Ireland midfielder was plying his trade at Yorkshire rivals Leeds United.

John Sheridan

John Sheridan

Both went on to have successful playing careers - Sheridan wlater playing for United’s city rivals Wednesday and scoring the winner in the 1991 League Cup final - before going into management.

And while they have remained good friends off the pitch, both be desperate for a win tomorrow for different reasons.

League One leaders United are closing in on a long overdue return to the Championship, while Sheridan has returned to Boundary Park for a third spell as boss to try and stave off relegation.

The two managers are both no-nonsense characters from opposing sides of the Pennines, and Wilder is full of praise for the job Sheridan has done at Oldham, as well as his previous roles at Chesterfield and Plymouth Argyle.

Shez has gone in there and done brilliant yet again, I am not surprised.

Blades boss Chris Wilder on Saturday rival, John Sheridan.

Oldham were bottom of League One, and looked relegation certainties in early January, but Sheridan’s arrival has inspired an upturn in results.

“Shez has gone in there and done brilliant yet again, I am not surprised,” said Wilder. “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.

“He went to Plymouth and sorted them out, got them in the position they are in now. That is mainly due to John and what he did and put in place.

“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.

“I played against him when he played for Leeds United as a kid. I played for Sheffield United in 1987 and 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.”