KEVAN Hurst is returning home.
The 25-year-old is looking forward to locking horns with Sheffield United tonight, having come through the ranks at Bramall Lane.
He joined Walsall on a free transfer from Carlisle United in June after spending the second half of last season on loan at League Two outfit Morecambe.
Hurst, who has made almost 250 senior appearances in his career, donned a United shirt just once as a late substitute in a 2-0 reversal at home to Queens Park Rangers almost eight years ago. He was farmed out on loan to Boston United, Stockport County, Chesterfield and Scunthorpe United before moving to the Iron permanently for £200,000 in 2007.
Hurst said: “I was there (United) since I was 10 or 11 so it’s like home for me. I used to support Sheffield Wednesday but that got bled out of me because obviously there’s a massive rivalry.
“They got me to where I was and then I needed to move on to play more games.
“They were in the Premier League and Neil Warnock was honest with me and said I wasn’t going to be in the squad much. It was the season before but that’s when they were in the Championship. He advised me to go to Scunthorpe because Nigel Adkins was an up and coming manager and I’d benefit and he was right in his opinions there as well. Unfortunately I had a few injuries so I never got back up to that level but I’m looking to do it now.”
Hurst helped Scunthorpe to promotion from League One in 2009 before moving to Carlisle United where he made 35 league appearances in two seasons. The skilful midfielder, who has forged a promising partnership on the left flank with Matt Sadler since arriving at Walsall, said: “I never got into the squad on a regular basis at United but the Championship is where I want to play because I proved I could play there with Scunthorpe.”
Walsall narrowly staved off the threat of relegation in the 2010/11 season, surviving by just one point. They boasted the worst away record in the division, recording just three wins on their travels.
Manager Dean Smith has brought in eight new reinforcements over the summer, including Hurst, and is hoping to avoid another battle to beat the drop.
Hurst expects there to be a “good atmosphere” at Bramall Lane.
“Sheffield Wednesday have been in League One for a couple of years and they still get 20,000 gates and it’ll be no change for Sheffield United,” he said. “When they went to the Premier League that’s when the fan base really kicked off. That Sheffield passion will always be there.
“Both Sheffield sides shouldn’t be where they are but they are there for a reason. United have got some good players, I grew up playing with Stephen Quinn and he’s a good player so I don’t feel they deserve to be there.”