Chris Morgan can be the man to lead Sheffield United to Play-Off glory, former teammate Nick Montgomery has insisted.
Morgan, who made almost 250 league appearances for United before a knee injury forced his retirement, took over as temporary manager when Danny Wilson was sacked last month.
The former defender has guided United to one win and two draws from his five games in charge so far - and now faces the biggest test of his short managerial career when United face Yeovil in a two-legged Play-Off semi-final.
United host Gary Johnson’s men at Bramall Lane tomorrow evening (7.45pm), before the second leg at Huish Park on Monday at 1.30pm, and Montgomery told the Telegraph: “Chris can definitely be the man to take United up this season.
“He is, without doubt, the one of the best guys I have ever played with, and he really wears his heart on his sleeve.
“He bleeds red and white, and I was devastated when he struggled to come back from his knee injury.
“But he never moaned, which is typical of the man - he just concentrated on his coaching badges. I know he will be a great manager, given time, as the man is a born leader.”
Montgomery, speaking from Australia where he has helped Central Coast Mariners to their first A-League Championship this season, spent 12 seasons at Bramall Lane - many of which were alongside Morgan, including the 2005/06 Championship promotion season and subsequent relegation from the Premier League.
“There should be no pressure on Morgs this season,” the former Scotland Under-21 international continued.
“He has been thrown in right at the deep end, and hasn’t had time to stamp his own authority on the team just yet.
“He will, however, do his best to rally the players, and will pick his best team to fight for promotion.”
If United do go up, however, Montgomery believes Wilson deserves much of the credit.
The former United boss gave Montgomery time off in the “worst year of his life”, when his twins were born two months prematurely and his wife Josie contracted viral meningitis.
“Danny and Frank (Barlow) worked so hard, and I think they did a great job when they first came in,” Montgomery added.
“He had to win over the fans, and cope with a lot of expectation.
“He was always good to me and understood what I was going through in my home life.
“I will always be grateful for him for that, but I also feel sad that he never got to see the best of me.”
Montgomery, of course, played in last season’s Play-Off final, when United lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town at Wembley, after midfielder Kevin McDonald was ruled out with a hamstring injury.
“Kev was ruled out the day before the final, and I was needed to play,” he remembers.
“To lose on penalties was heartbreaking, and for me it was a bad end to the worst year of my life.
“Kev had a great season and was unfortunate to miss out. On his day, he can control games.
“If United make the final, he can be a big player on a pitch like Wembley. On days like that, all the players need to turn up on the day.
“I have been in touch with Morgs to send him my best wishes, and I’m confident that this season will end well.”
Striker Jonathan Forte is a Play-Off doubt with a hamstring injury.