Heckingbottom, who took over from Wilder after his departure from his boyhood club last season on a temporary basis before landing the job permanently after the sacking of Slavisa Jokanović back in November, has transformed United since his appointment and they go into the final game of the regular season this weekend inside the play-off places.
Wilder’s Middlesbrough and Millwall are hoping to leapfrog into the play-off places on the Championship’s final day, sitting two and three points off sixth spot respectively.
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"I think the biggest thing is that we are going into the 46th game of the season and our season is still alive,” Wilder, who also heaped praise on Luton Town’s Nathan Jones, said.
“Paul has taken over when Sheffield United were in that position and he’s done a fabulous job there with a really good group of players.
“Nathan the same. It’s a brilliant achievement getting ([Luton] in there.
“Obviously the teams above them in Huddersfield and Forest have had fabulous seasons. That’s taking out where Bournemouth and Fulham are.”
Victory over Fulham this weekend will seal United’s place in the end-of-season shootout, and give them the chance to return to the Premier League at the first attempt after relegation last season.
Boro, meanwhile, travel to Preston and know they must win and then rely on favours elsewhere.
“We’ve got to win,” Wilder added.
“We take it the 46th game of the season which, when we walked in, we’d have taken. One hundred per cent.”