Darrell Clarke, player-manager of FA Cup minnows Salisbury City, says he’d love to put one over former boss Danny Wilson, but insists it’s nothing personal.
Clarke, who has led the Blue Square Bet Conference South club to the third round - their best ever cup run - was sent out on loan from Hartlepool to Rochdale in 2006 when Wilson was in charge of the north-east club.
But the 34-year-old has nothing but compliments for the man who will be in the opposite dug-out at Bramall Lane on Saturday afternoon.
He said: “Danny Wilson is someone I have the highest respect for. When he arrived at Hartlepool I had been out injured for the season, we had around 32 players and he needed to make changes. I’d have done the same in his position.
“I hold him in the highest regard. He has had great success as a manager.”
In his first managerial job, the Mansfield-born Clarke has tried to incorporate the best bits of his previous bosses into his leadership style - including Wilson. He said: “You pick up bits and bobs from everyone. I want to be my own man but things like how Danny organised his team shape and how he put that into practice in training.
“We know that United will have to be very off form and we’ll have to be at the top of our game if we’re going to create an upset.”
One player on United’s books who may have split loyalties on the day is Clarke’s 11-year-old nephew Owen. The young striker is part of the club’s Academy but his uncle predicts blood will be thicker than water on Saturday.
“It had better be, or there’ll be no more Christmas or birthday presents!” he joked.
A memorial match for former United manager Gary Speed will be played when Wales host Costa Rica on February 29.
The match will be played at the Cardiff City Stadium and will be the second time the two countries have met. The first, on May 20, 1990, was Speed’s international debut in a 1-0 Wales win. Dean Saunders, now manager of Doncaster Rovers, scored.