Sheffield United: Rival boss McCall pays tribute to Blades skipper Billy Sharp after his brace in Yorkshire derby
After a long and distinguished playing career, and a fairly successful managerial one, too, Stuart McCall has probably seen it all before.
But the former Sheffield United midfielder, now Bradford City boss, took no pleasure in correctly predicting the outcome of Saturday’s pulsating clash between his employers past and present at Valley Parade.
“I thought it might be a tight game,” McCall said.
“We hadn’t conceded more than one this season in the league, and United have tightened up with three at the back.
“But I said to someone when I was coming out on Saturday morning that it would probably end up 3-3. And at 3-2 up, I was hoping my prophecy wouldn’t come true!
“But it was great entertainment, a great advert for this division. Two proper football clubs, fantastic support and atmosphere, end-to-end stuff.
“I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of it.”
McCall played 71 times for United before calling time on a 763-game playing career, and almost joined them as manager in 2013 before electing to remain with Motherwell - where he won three Lanarkshire Cup titles and led them into the Champions League.
After a breathless afternoon in West Yorkshire, which saw Billy Sharp twice put United ahead before Chris Basham sealed a point which took United up to third, McCall added: “Every team has their ups and downs but if Sheffield United keep that up, which I’m sure they will, any team that finishes above them will get promoted.
“Billy Sharp is flying at the moment. Our lads won’t play up against a better striker than that, he’s in absolute top form. Look through all the side, there are a lot of good players who’ve played at Championship level.
“A point was well earned for both sides. Nobody deserved to be on the losing side but we’re a little bit disappointed with their second and third goals. But give me a 3-3 any day rather than a 0-0.”
Wilder, who also tipped Bradford for promotion, reserved praise for referee Jonathan Moss, who has come under pressure following a series of Premier League errors but officiated well at Valley Parade in front of a raucous home crowd.
“I thought it was refereed in the right way,” Wilder said.
“He let the game flow. We were a touch disappointed when Billy had a goal disallowed but I don’t want to be talking about the referee, with all due respect, after a game like that where there’s been six goals.”
“They started the better of the two teams and they got at us,” Wilder added.
“We looked a little bit leggy and loose in terms of possession and making some poor decisions. But it was that type of afternoon.
“We got our noses in front and then should have got the second. I give them a lot of credit and I give our boys a lot of credit too.
“Both clubs can take great heart out of how their teams are doing at the moment.”