Sheffield United: 'He's on his own but now but will prove a good fit'

Despite intent on beating his Newcastle team tonight, Chris Wilder is convinced Steve Bruce will go on to prove a success at St James’ Park.

Thursday, 5th December 2019, 5:40 pm

The Sheffield United manager, who admits he counts Bruce as a “footballing friend”, made the prediction after claiming people had been wrong to criticise the 58-year-old when news of his appointment was announced during the close season.

“There might be a certain section of supporters that sometimes aren’t (on board),” Wilder said. “But I don’t see Steve as anything other than a good fit, with the experience he’s got and the results he’s had. I think it could easily have been quite different for him at (Aston) Villa, and if he’d taken them up then everybody would be saying what a great job he’s done.”

Like Wilder, Bruce has followed the club he now manages since childhood and resigned his position with United’s arch-rivals Sheffield Wednesday to return to the North-East. Following a difficult spell in charge of Villa, where his efforts to gain promotion from the Championship were hijacked by off-the-pitch issues, Bruce’s arrival as Rafa Benitez’s replacement failed to inspire a number of Newcastle fans. But his popularity appears to be on the rise after last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City.

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“Any manager, it’s very rare that any manager is met with universal approval,” Wilder, who has twice gained promotion with United, said. “It’s up to you, and it was up to Steve, to get results.”

Chris Wilder leads his Sheffield United team into Premier League battle again when Newcastle United visit Bramall Lane tonight: Simon Bellis/Sportimage