The Sheffielder was unveiled as Boro’s new boss back in November, replacing another ex-Blades boss in Neil Warnock, and his Lane return was delayed when the Blades v Boro game, originally scheduled for New Year’s Day, was postponed because of Covid-19 cases in the Middlesbrough camp.
In his press conference before the game, Wilder admitted he would be disappointed not to receive a positive welcome back to Bramall Lane.
“Whatever the reception is, I’d like to think it would be a positive one," he said. “
"I’d be a touch disappointed if it isn’t, but I can’t control that.
“The Sheffield United supporters are very similar to Middlesbrough supporters. They know what’s good and they know everything that happened, and was achieved, and the experiences everyone went through, me included.”
Both Wilder and Alan Knill, his former No.2 at the Blades, were given a warm welcome back by Blades fans, with both men returning the applause ahead of kick-off.
Paul Heckingbottom, Wilder’s opposite number tonight, welcomed back his friend and predecessor in his programme notes.
“Chris Wilder needs no introduction in this side of the city and I’m sure he will have been looking forward to this one for some time,” he wrote.
“I hope he and his staff get a great reception and I’m looking forward to having a drink with them after the game.
“But whilst feelings will undoubtedly be running high all around the ground, it’s important that we keep a cool head and focus on the prize - three points.”