Sheffield Derby: ‘I live in Sheffield, I know what it means to everyone’ – Sam Hutchinson fired-up and ready for Sheffield Wednesday’s date with Sheffield United
For Sam Hutchinson, the Sheffield derby can't come quick enough.
The tough-tackling midfielder, who has cemented himself as a firm fans’ favourite at Wednesday since joining the club initially on loan in February 2014, has never played against the Owls' city rivals.
And Hutchinson knows what is at stake when Wednesday renew one of the fiercest rivalries in English football.
Father-of-three Hutchinson said: "I live in Sheffield so I am amongst it every day.
"I take my kids to school and I get Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday fans coming up to me so I know what it means to everyone so I'm ready for it.
"It is the one isn't it? As long as we win, I will be happy."
Defeating United will be no easy task. Chris Wilder's men are flying high near the top of the Championship and will fancy their chances of securing automatic promotion following a superb sequence of results.
"They have got an identity and a way of playing," acknowledged Hutchinson. "I think the way they play suits the personnel they have got. They have done really well.
"They have got a gaffer that gets the best out of their players. They have maximised everything and done well."
Wednesday fans have not had a lot to shout about this season. Their team has been maddeningly inconsistent.
Hutchinson said: "All the boys want to do is repay the fans.
"We always want to impress them when we go out there on a Saturday. Our fans have been great this season. They always travel in their numbers and we are looking to do as much as we can for them, the gaffer and the chairman.
"With the way things have gone this year, it would be amazing to get the win for the fans. I'm only going into that game looking for one result.
"We are at home, we are a big club and in a false position. We will have a right go."
The arrival of Steve Bruce as manager has lifted the mood around S6. Twelve points out of a possible 18 has raised hopes of a late play-off push.
The smiles have returned. Morale has soared. Now there is reason to believe again.
Hutchinson said: "It is always hard when a manager comes in February to put his ideas across. It is not his squad so he might want to make changes but he can't until the summer.
"The gaffer wants more from us and we demand more from ourselves. The people he has brought in have done very well and made an impact.
"Our fitness levels are better now. We are training harder and working more as a team.
"We have been unbeaten for a while and are doing new things but I think we can play much better. It takes time and you have to work on things."
The former Chelsea youngster is enjoying the new regime.
"It is early days but it is different playing under a British manager," said Hutchinson. "He wants us to get about the pitch and I don't mind doing it.
"It is a different role for me. I'm a little bit more advanced. I press people. I'm happy do what he wants."
Four Owls stars who have never played in a Sheffield derby
Shirt number: 27
Minutes played this season: 87
Shots per game: 0.7
Pass success rate: 85.3 per cent
Shirt number: 23
Minutes played this season: 1172
Yellow cards: 3
Shots per game: 0.5
Pass success rate: 84.6 per cent
Shirt number: 39
Minutes played this season: 199
Shots per game: 1
Pass success rate: 74.6 per cent
Shirt number: 45
Minutes played this season: 1045
Shots per game: 2.2
Pass success rate: 80.5 per cent