SHEFFIELD UNITED manager Chris Wilder has praised Newcastle United counterpart Steve Bruce ahead of Thursday night's meeting at Bramall Lane - and insists he was not surprised that he chose to move to his boyhood club Newcastle United from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer.
Wilder locks horns with his good friend - nine months on from being on opposing sides in the Steel City derby at Hillsborough.
That friendship will be put to one side for ninety minutes, but Wilder is unequivocal in his view that Bruce represents a shrewd appointment by the Tynesiders, despite many Magpies supporters being unhappy and underwhelmed by his unveiling.
Wilder said: ""There was lots of talk in this area about this decision and it was a decision that did not surprise me at all."
"I have talked long and hard about the importance of LMA (League Managers' Association) from a young manager's point of view. And Steve has certainly been there for myself and a lot of new managers.
"Steve is one alongside Sean Dyche, Sam (Allardyce) and other people who pick up the phone to you. I have spoken to him in summer and a quite a number of times.
"He is an experienced manager. You are not just given jobs in the Premier League if you are bang average and Steve isn't bang average as a manager and a person. I speak to him quite regularly and I am certainly not surprised by the job he is doing at Newcastle.
"It is a big, big job and a huge football club and one that needed a big personality and they have certainly got one in Steve."
Meanwhile, Wilder reports no fresh injuries for the game and has a fully fit squad and acknowledges that has the resources to rotate should he deem it fit, ahead of Sunday's trip to Norwich City - which will be the Blades' third game in a week.
The United chief added: "I have got that option (rotation). Everybody is fit and it is testament to the conditioning work and work people away from lights do, it is really valuable.
"There is always an element of luck with injuries, but an element of cnditioning and hard work away from first-team games and we are nice and strong at the moment and it gives us the opportunity to rotate if we want to. Whether on Thursday night or Sunday.
"We will have a look at the players, they are in good nick and playing well. I''d imagine they'd be disappointed if they are not involved, but I have got to make the right deciison to get the best result for the football club."