DONCASTER Rovers winger David Cotterill will need no introduction to Blades fans in tonight’s League One derby at Bramall Lane.
The former Welsh international initially joined the Blades on loan from Premier League Wigan, who had paid Bristol City £2m for his services, and made 15 starts in the 2007-08 campaign before being signed on a permanent basis at the end of the season.
He made 32 appearances for the Blades, then a Championship club, during the 2008-09 season and 14 the following season before joining Swansea in a £600,000 deal after a successful loan spell.
“I had a good time there and made the play-offs but we got beat unfortunately,” recalled the 24-year-old.
“It’s a great club and they’ve got some great fans. The fans were always good to me when I was there and I’m looking forward to going back,” he said.
The way that Cotterill, whose career was on the slide prior to joining up with Rovers in the summer, is currently playing is likely to make many United supporters wish that he was still on the club’s books.
Rovers boss Dean Saunders had worked with Cotterill, released by Swansea at the start of the year after he had failed to force his way into the side following their promotion to the Premier League, during his time as the Wales No 2.
He believed he could get his career back on track if he worked with him on a daily basis, and he’s been proved right.
The Welshman scored what is tipped to be the club’s goal of the season in the 3-0 win at Walsall on the opening day of the league season.
He also netted in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Colchester and had a hand in the second.
“I’m pleased how it is going but I need to keep working hard and helping the team as much as possible, Cotterill told The Star. “Scoring goals, and helping to provide them, is something that I need to be doing on a regular basis.
“It is my first derby game since I’ve been at Doncaster. They are always special games and as a player you always want to play in them.
“United have got a great fan base and they always get behind the team and they’ll be coming out in their numbers again tonight for sure.
“Those Rovers fans who made the long trip to Colchester on Saturday, gave the team great backing and I’m sure that there will be a lot more there tonight with it being a lot nearer.
“If we start well, and play how we want to play, I’m sure the fans will get behind us.
“I’m expecting it to be a tough game. But we’ve got a lot of experience in the side and I think that will help in games like tonight.
“We may be a League One side but the majority of our players have played in the Championship and some beyond that.
“We certainly have enough experience in the side to go there and get a result.
“But we will need to play better than we did after the first 15 minutes or so on Saturday.
“I know, like ourselves, they have cut back financially and a few players have gone. But they’ve still got a lot of very good players and it’s going to be a difficult job for us.
“They are going to be one of the favourites to go up this season.
“They are one the bigger clubs, if not the biggest club, in League One and they are always going to be there or thereabouts whileever they are at this level.
“They are such a big club that they probably think they shouldn’t be playing at this level and that will act as an added incentive.”
“It is always difficult to try and pick yourself up after losing in a play-off final - especially in the circumstances in which they lost out. Not only did they lose out on penalties, but they also lost out to a side who finished below them in the table.
“But they’ve made a decent start and I expect them to be up there at the end of the season.”