Sheffield derby: Why Steve Bruce has plenty of respect for Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder
They will be in opposite dugouts at Hillsborough on Monday evening - but Steve Bruce has plenty of respect for rival boss Chris Wilder.
Bruce kicked off his managerial career at Bramall Lane 21 years ago and Wilder played under him on the red half of the city.
"I had him as a player a long, long time ago at Sheffield United," said Wednesday chief Bruce, who ended his playing career at United. "When you have had somebody as a player, you watch them.
"I don’t think I was there long enough to get to know him.
"But certainly over the last few years, he has been outstanding in his work. He’s very good."
Wilder, a lifelong Blade, has earned plenty of plaudits having led United to second in the Championship.
"You have to take your hat off to Chris and what he has done," said Bruce. "From getting them out of League One, to where they finished last year, playing in a certain way in a certain style.
"You have to be complimentary about them. I have huge respect for Chris, but it’s our job - my job - to try and beat them.
"They have been very good over the last couple of years, and a lot of that’s down to the management.
"Look at what Chris has achieved, with lower clubs he has been at, he has done very well. He is a very capable manager and a good person too."
United will enter the derby full of confidence after winning three in a row.
Bruce said: "They are genuine contenders (to go up), absolutely. With 12 games to go, sitting second in the league, you are a contender.
"But I am not really interested in how well they are doing, it’s what we achieve.
"We know it will be a tough game, but make no mistake, it will be a tough game for them too."