Sheffield Wednesday fan Paul Hurst earns praise from Sheffield United boss

Paul Hurst: Leads Shrewsbury Town out at Bramall Lane tomorrow.
Paul Hurst: Leads Shrewsbury Town out at Bramall Lane tomorrow.
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Chris Wilder is looking forward to a Steel City derby in the Bramall Lane dugouts tomorrow.

For the Sheffield United manager, a boyhood Blades fan, will be reunited with Paul Hurst for the visit of Shrewsbury Town.

The pair played together at Rotherham United in the Nineties, and Sheffield-born Hurst – a Wednesday fan – is now in charge of the Shrews.

“I really like Hursty,” said Wilder. “He’s a good guy and had a fantastic career at Rotherham.

“He broke into the team when I was there and, with the rivalry between the two clubs we support, we used to have a bit of banter with each other.

“I think his sides mirror what he’s like as a guy. They are always competitive.”

Wilder expects Hurst will be on the receiving end of some good-humoured banter from Blades fans tomorrow.

The United boss received the same reception at neighbouring Chesterfield on Sunday.

He said: “That’s a fact. He supports them. I support us. I’m not being vicious or vindictive.

“When Chesterfield went 1-0 up on Sunday, the people behind me weren’t saying, ‘Unlucky Chris. Keep your chin up, keep going’.”

Both Wilder – the former Halifax Town and Oxford United boss – and Hurst have had to graft their way up the managerial ladder.

Hurst, 42, cut his teeth at Ilkeston Town and Boston United before leading Grimsby Town to promotion to the Football League in May.

On their managerial paths, Wilder said: “There’s no right way and wrong way. If people asked would I rather be a Premier League player earning £50,000 a week, then those days at Halifax I’d probably have been happy to do without. I’ve known Paul a while and I’ve followed his career. I’m not surprised he’s attracted interest and I think it’s an astute appointment. They’ve gone for someone who is on the up rather than doing the rounds.”

In a peculiar twist in the league fixtures, the Blades and Shrewsbury meet today, just a month after they played each other at New Meadow. The Blades won that game 3-0, but since Hurst arrived, results have improved and they have won three successive games.

Striker Stefan Scougall (hamstring) is back in contention for the Blades.