His loyalties very much lie with Hull City - but Tigers boss Steve Bruce has never hidden his admiration for Sheffield Wednesday.
Bruce has, on numerous occasions, spoken in glowing terms of the giant strides Owls have made under Carlos Carvalhal’s management this season.
After the Tigers and Wednesday played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Hillsborough in front of the Sky cameras last October, Bruce said: “They have got an impressive coach, they have got a bit of quality they have brought in and the crowd at last seem like they have something to shout about, which is good for the city.”
It finished goalless in the reverse fixture and the Yorkshire derby was overshadowed by Fernando Forestieri’s controversial dismissal following a clash with Hull defender Michael Dawson.
“This is the best Wednesday side I’ve seen in a long, long time and all credit to them,” commented Bruce, who also criticised referee Tim Robinson’s decision to send off Forestieri.
Little did Bruce know that his Tigers outfit would be lining up against Carvalhal’s charges in the Championship Play-Off Final at Wembley come Saturday, May 28, kick-off 5pm.
Bruce, who led Hull to the 2014 FA Cup Final, is targeting a fourth promotion.
It will be the third time in four years Bruce has taken the Tigers to the home of football after they edged past Derby County 3-2 on aggregate in the Semi-Finals. Bruce was relieved to get through to the Final after losing the second leg 2-0. He accepts his side will have to raise their game if they are to seal a Premier League return.
“To get to Wembley for the third time is a magnificent achievement,” he said. “Hopefully we have got our bad performance out of the way.”