Sheffield United: Sunday's meeting with Barnet will see Chris Wilder come face to face with one of the people he respects most in football

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder will be pitting his wits against a team constructed by one of the coaches he most admires in football, Alan Knill has revealed, ahead of Sunday's FA Cup tie against Barnet.

Friday, 4th January 2019, 2:42 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th January 2019, 12:31 pm
Barnet's head of football John Still: PA Wire.

John Still, previously of Dagenham and Redbridge and Luton Town, became the visitors' head of football last month following over four decades in the technical area.

With Darren Currie, nephew of United legend Tony, replacing Still in a caretaker capacity, the third round meeting promises to be a celebratory affair behind the scenes although, as Knill admitted earlier today, Still's presence guarantees Barnet are likely to pose awkward opposition during the game.

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Citing Still's reputation for identifying non-league talent, Wilder's assistant said: "John had a tap to it, didn't he. I played against his Dagenham team a lot and you knew what a tough game it was going to be and that he'd have gifted players at the top of the pitch. 

"Chris knows him well, better than me, and we've both got so much respect for what he's done over the years. Darren, we know him really well too. He's a really good guy too and was a really talented player as well."

Still announced his retirement from management before Christmas, after taking charge of Barnet for the third time in May. Dwight Gayle, Craig Mackail-Smith and Sam Saunders are among those he discovered in the semi-professional and amateur games.

Explaining Wilder's father and Still are long-term acquaintances, Knill said: "Chris' dad knows him, John, that's the family connection. Chris has got a load of people who come to watch us from that area.

Chris Wilder (right) and Alan Knill (centre): Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"Like us, if you've been in football a long-time, you are more than aware of how hard it is, to do the job that he's done, on zero budget. You can't help but have respect for someone like that, seriously. He just puts his head down and works."

"Neither of them, John or Darren, ever really got the appreciation they deserve," Knill added. "With John, people in football realise the job he's done. Dagenham, before he went to Barnet, he ran that from top to bottom. They kept over-achieving and finding players."

With United's meeting with Barnet moved for broadcast purposes and their derby against Sheffield Wednesday now taking place on Monday 4 March at the request of SKY, Knill said: "You know TV pays. But I'd much rather kick-off at 3pm on a Saturday. 

"Our one is for our TV, it's for overseas TV. We all know there's nothing we can do, you have to go for the scheduling.

Darren Currie is Barnet's caretaker manager

"This used to be a really big weekend, the third round, but football has changed a lot hasn't it."