Bruce’s Tigers famously broke the hearts of the 40,000 Wednesdayites in the Championship play-off final at Wembley in May 2016, but the Owls’ incessant support on that Spring day left a lasting impression upon him.
The north-easterner will not officially start duties as Wednesday’s chief until February 1, but a telephone message has reinforced the importance of Owls players showing pride in front of another sell-out contingent at the KCOM Stadium today.
Assistant Steve Agnew said: “Funnily enough I spoke to Steve (on Thursday) and he said, ‘It is an East Yorkshire and South Yorkshire derby so make sure the players put on a performance’.
“We know there is going to be a following of about 2,500 Sheffield Wednesday supporters at the game.
“It is a clear message from the manager to say to the players, ‘go and enjoy yourselves and put on a performance for the supporters and let’s hope we all have an enjoyable day out at Hull’.”
Agnew believes that the Tigers, who have transformed their season in eye-catching fashion since the start of December, can serve as a template to follow for the Owls in their own quest to rise up the table.
“Hull are a great example. They had a tough start to the season and have now won five straight league games, which is remarkable,” added Agnew.
“Nigel and his staff have done a fantastic job with the players.
“I am sure they have had time on the training ground to implement their ideas. It probably took a little longer than they would have liked, but this is the Championship and any team at any time can go on a run and surprise the ones above them.”