Not just another game ... no chance - Lee Bullen will have Sheffield Wednesday players fired up for United battle
Not only was Lee Bullen deployed in every position in his four seasons as an Owls player, the Scot also played in two Steel City derbies.
The likelihood is the affable Scot would have been involved in more in his career had he not suffered injury misfortune.
But the former Wednesday skipper, who led the club to promotion from League One in 2005, considers himself “lucky” to have sampled one of the fiercest rivalries in english football.
“They are a great occasion and not just another game – no chance,” he said. “It is a lot more than that.”
Bullen lost his first tussle with the Blades.
Paul Sturrock’s side slumped to a 2-1 defeat at Hillsborough in February 2006. Strikes from Michael Tonge and Ade Akinbiyi helped the Blades claim the local bragging rights.
But Bullen played his part in the Owls beating United less than two years later down at S6. Akpo Sodje and Marcus Tudgay registered to send the blue half of the city home happy.
If Wednesday’s expensively-assembled, under-performing class of 2017-18 are to be successful at Bramall Lane tomorrow night, Bullen has pinpointed what they need to get right with their performance.
Bullen, now an Owls coach, said: “One, you have to match their aggression and tempo. That is the most important thing in my book, without a doubt.
“Yes, we understand their dynamic and formation with a lot of movement forward. We have got to be strong and stand up to the physical battle and I didn’t think we did that in the first game.
“If you went through it man for man, we lost too many individual battles and that is where it is going to be very important on Friday.”
Bullen took charge of Wednesday on a caretaker basis following Carlos Carvalhal’s departure on Christmas Eve. He led Wednesday to one victory from his four matches at the helm. His last outing came in Saturday’s goalless draw at Carlisle United in the FA Cup, with new manager Jos Luhukay watching from the stands.
Bullen, who will stay on to assist Luhukay, initially on a short-term basis, said: “Jos has been thrown in the deep end and I am sure he will come out swimming, no problem at all. I will help him ... and we will get them wound up for it (the derby). Certainly, the players will be told (about Friday’s importance).”