Sheffield Wednesday legend says focus is on Watford at Bramall Lane on Boxing Day

Watford head coach Nigel Pearson says his past history with Sheffield Wednesday will not have any bearing on how he prepares for the Boxing Day fixture at Sheffield United.

Watford manager Nigel Pearson.

The 56-year-old was a regular at Hillsborough between 1987 and 1994 and captained the Owls to glory in the 1991 League Cup Final.

He will be in the dugout of Sheffield Wednesday’s rivals on Thursday, although is only focused on helping his current team, the Hornets, move closer to safety in the Premier League.

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“I just think of it more in the context of me going back there as Watford’s head coach,” Pearson said.

“Clearly I played seven years at Sheffield Wednesday, but I don’t really think it has a bearing on terms of how I approach it. This is just our next game.

“I think Chris Wilder has done a marvellous job at Sheffield United and he is a nice guy as well, so I don’t think my personal connection with Sheffield Wednesday is really relevant to our situation now.

“We have a job to do in terms of putting a performance in and trying to get three points if we can to improve our situation so that’s how I look at it.”

The Blades have enjoyed a stellar return to top-flight football with Sheffield United flying high in fifth position after 18 matches.

Wilder, like Pearson, earned his shot in the Premier League after clinching promotion from the Championship and the Hornets boss believes that is the best way for British managers to get an opportunity in the division.

“Chris has earned the right to be in the Premier League by taking a side up and that’s how I did it before,” the former Leicester manager added.

“I think that would be an assumption that a lot of people would have that your best chance of getting a job in the Premier League is taking a team up from the Championship, but whether there is a trend now? I don’t know. There are more British managers certainly managing.”

Watford have only won twice in the division this season, but Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Manchester United has added to the improving atmosphere at Vicarage Road.

After a strong showing in a recent defeat at Liverpool, Pearson is looking for his relegation-threatened team to keep building momentum.

Pearson said: “We play Sheffield United and they are a really good team. They have a fantastic work ethic and they play a very expansive brand of football.”