ONCE they were brothers in arms but when Chesterfield and Sheffield United collide at the B2net Stadium John Sheridan and Danny Wilson will regard each other as enemy combatants.
With their respective clubs in need of League One points - albeit for very different reasons - tomorrow’s contest promises to be a cut-throat affair where the strongest survive and faint-hearted flounder.
The visitors, with Wilson at the helm, know only a positive result can cement their position towards the top of the League One table. Sheridan, by contrast, finds himself battling to drag the hosts off the bottom.
But despite their common purpose, one former team mate last night told The Star the two men are likely to adopt wholly different approaches towards tackling this eagerly anticpated fixture.
David Hirst, who played alongside both at Sheffield Wednesday during the early 1990s, told The Star that despite pursuing the same career path, Wilson and Sherdidan are incomparable characters.
“I always suspected Danny would go into management,” he told The Star. “I wouldn’t say it surprised me when John did but I don’t think he was as obvious a candidate. Even when he was a player, Danny was always very interested in the game, the nuts and bolts of it.
“He always knew exactly what the strengths and weaknesses were of the opposition and the player he was going to be up against. ”
Wilson was a dog of war in the Wednesday side which lifted the Rumbelows Cup in 1991
while Sheridan, whose goal secured that victory over Manchester United, used his silky skills to paint vivid pictures across Hillsborough’s midfield canvas.
Hirst, who also appeared at Wembley, said: “Danny and Shez were both very different as players and they’re both different people.
“Shez was the one who was going to split open a defence with a moment of
magic whereas Danny was more tenacious.”
Wilson’s Wednesday connections - he later took charge of United’s arch-rivals following a successful spell at Barnsley - meant he received a hostile reception after being unveiled as Micky Adams’ successor at Bramall Lane in May.
But Hirst said: “When I saw the reception Danny got I knew it wouldn’t knock him off course.
“Danny was a really dogged player but he’s not six feet six tall and built like the proverbial. He’s spent his sporting life fighting the big men and usually coming out on top.”
Chesterfield’s winless run in league competition extended to seven games when they were beaten by Sheridan’s previous employers, Oldham.
“Shez is a good manager – he’s shown that at Oldham and by getting Chesterfield up – and he’ll get it right,” Hirst said.
“He could moan himself to sleep when he was a player and he won’t be enjoying where they are at present but he’ll turn it around.”
Teams and ref
Chesterfield (possible): Sodberg, Trotman, Grounds, Smith, Allott, Bowery, Westcarr, Mendy, Talbot, Clarke, Obadeyi (4-4-2).
United (possible): Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Williams, Montgomery, Doyle, Quinn, McAllister, Cresswell, Evans (4-4-2).
Darren Sheldrake: Sheldrake will be taking charge of a fixture involving Sheffield United for the first time since earning his Football League spurs. The Surrey official, who averages nearly three cautions per game this term, oversaw Chesterfield’s defeat at Burton in February.
One to watch
Leon Clarke, on loan from Swindon Town, would appear to pose the biggest threat to the visitors’ defence. Scored five goals in his first three games for John Sheridan’s side after completing his temporary switch.
Sheffield United won 3-1 when these two teams last met four years ago. None of the 14 players who featured for the home side during that Carling Cup tie are still at Bramall Lane. Chesterfield triumphed 2-1 during their previous league fixture – at Saltergate – in 1989.