If Chris Wilder’s love for his boyhood club Sheffield United had not held sway, Blades’ manager would be sitting in the home dugout tomorrow at The Valley.
The 49-year-old was close to becoming the new Charlton Athletic manager after leading Northampton Town to promotion from League Two.
But the chance to succeed Nigel Adkins was too big a lure for the former Blades player, and Wilder headed north to take charge at Bramall Lane.
Tomorrow, he takes United – currently on a 14-match unbeaten league run – to Charlton, who this week sacked Russell Slade and replaced him with former MK Dons boss Karl Robinson.
Wilder said he had been impressed with the size of Charlton, and their potential, but could not resist the chance offered by Blades chief Kevin McCabe.
“I spoke to them,” said Wilder. “I thought the time was right to explore what was out there.
“I had an unbelievable time at Northampton, but I thought it was my right to look and that it was the right moment.
“But, to be fair, I think everybody will understand that when the call from Kevin came through, it was done. That was decision made.”
Robinson becomes Roland Duchatelet’s seventh managerial appointment since the Belgian businessman bought Charlton in January 2014.
The Addicks, 11th in the table, have won their last two games under caretaker manager Kevin Nugent.
Robinson will watch from the stands tomorrow, but Wilder is adamant it will not interfere with the result.
“They are up against us, the manager can’t step onto the pitch,” he said.
“You’d think him being at the game will possibly lift a few of the players’ performances, but, like I say, he’s going to be up there in the stands, not out there in the game.
“They are a dangerous team, they’ve got a lot of good players and are a historic club.
“It should be an entertaining game at a proper ground with three and a half thousand of our fans going down there who we don’t want to disappoint.
“We want to take that challenge on.
“The players they’ve got, especially their attacking players, I don’t think they are going to sit on the edge of their own box.
“People have seen we’ve got dangerous players away from home too.”