Mutual respect between derby rivals

Admiration: Lee Clark has praised United boss Danny Wilson
Admiration: Lee Clark has praised United boss Danny Wilson

LEE Clark, the Huddersfield Town manager, last night expressed admiration for Danny Wilson’s achievements since taking charge of Sheffield United.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s derby at the Galpharm Stadium, Clark revealed he views Wilson as one of his most feared adversaries in League One competition and predicted a “Special” game between two attacking teams.

“Danny has shown, yet again, what a fantastic manager he is,” said Clark. “He’s worked at the highest level, knows the business inside out and has created a really good momentum there.

“They’ve got top quality players and they’ve been able to keep their squad together during the transfer window which, for me, is absolutely key.

“Sheffield United are a huge club with a great tradition. I expected them to do well before the season had even started.”

Clark, who has steered United’s latest opponents to the play-offs in two of his first three campaigns at the helm, has proved to be an astute judge of character.

Wilson’s men make the short journey to West Yorkshire in third place following Saturday’s victory over Wycombe Wanderers.

Town, who triumphed 3-0 at Bramall Lane in September, are fourth.

“We played really well when we went to their place,” Clark continued. “We want to hit those same heights again.

“We showed that night that when we hit top form then we are more than a match for anybody.”

Wilson returned the compliment during his own pre-match press conference.

Insisting Clark is destined for the Premier League - “He could even take Huddersfield there but he’s certain to work at the highest level” - the former Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and Swindon chief said: “I know Lee and (his assistant) Terry (McDermott) really well. They’re both real football people and have my utmost respect.

“Town have got terrific players but they’ve also done what they’ve done because of Lee.

“He’ll definitely work in the top flight one day. He’s young and he’s clearly got the talent so I expect him to get there.”

Nevertheless, despite their love-in behind the scenes, neither Clark nor Wilson expect any affection to be shown during this eagerly anticipated Valentine’s Day encounter.

“Sheffield United will come here and be positive,” Clark said.

“I know that for certain because they like to go out there and attack teams.

“We’re exactly the same, we like to do that as well which is why I’m expecting this game to be a little bit special.”

Clark could name winger Gary Roberts (hernia) in his squad while midfielder Lee Williamson (calf) is United’s only doubt.

Follow James on Twitter: @JamesShield1

Teams and ref

BLADES (possible): Simonsen, Lowton, Maguire, Collins, Jean-Francois, Flynn, Doyle, McDonald, Quinn, Cresswell, Evans (4-4-2).

HUDDERSFIELD (possible): Bennett, Hunt, McCombe, Morrison, Naysmith, Arfield, Miller, Gobern, Cadamarteri, Higginbotham, Rhodes. (4-4-2).

KEVIN FRIEND (Leicestershire): Tonight’s game will be only the second time Friend has taken charge of a League One fixture this season. Has issued 68 cautions and three red cards in his last 20 outings. He was appointed to the Select Group ahead of the 2009/10 campaign.