Rookie boss braced for Owls clash

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WHEN Rochdale roll up at Hillsborough on August 6 for their opening fixture in League One, it promises to be a momentous day in the life of Steve Eyre.

It was just over a week ago Eyre was named the new manager at Spotland, replacing Keith Hill who has taken over at the Owls’ South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.

Although the 39-year-old has no managerial experience, Eyre is highly regarded following his exploits at youth level.

He has joined Dale from Premier League aristocrats Manchester City, where he was the youth team coach. In his time at Eastlands, Eyre led the youngsters to five league titles and two FA Youth Cup finals.

Nonetheless, Eyre has big boots to fill at Dale, with Hill masterminding the club’s promotion out of League Two in 2010.

Eyre insists survival is his top priority in his debut year in management.

“It’s precarious and it’s unforgiving, no-one can deny it’s the most competitive League One I think there’s ever been,” he said. “There’s some fantastic games, it’s going to be fierce but I’m right up for the challenge.”

Second-half goals from Giles Coke and Clinton Morrison saw Wednesday seal a 2-0 home success against Rochdale in November last year.

But Dale gained revenge on home soil over the Owls three months later. In Gary Megson’s first official match in charge, Wednesday crashed to a 2-1 defeat. Striker Gary Madine grabbed a last minute consolation.