DAVE Jones and Neil Warnock will be enemies and friends as their teams do battle at Hillsborough tonight.
The Wednesday chief says that he has had many a touchline spat with Leeds chief Warnock in his time but they always have a drink together afterwards.
The pair will both expect a high-octane Yorkshire derby as the Owls bid to eclipse their bad run while the Whites aim for a sixth successive game unbeaten and if tempers become frayed at times then it will be nothing new for Jones.
“I’ve come across Neil many times,” he says. “I speak to him now and again on the phone and bump into him on the odd occasion. He’ll tell you himself he’s not the most-liked person on football, but I get on with him. I respect what he’s trying to do, but if he steps over the mark then I’ll tell him, and I’m sure he would tell me the same.
“We’ve had some running battles on the touchline, but we’ve always gone in afterwards and had a drink. whatever’s gone on, and there’s no reason why that won’t continue.
“But it’s not about me and Neil, it’s about what happens on the pitch.”
Jones once again has to decide whether to make changes after persevering with a 4-1-4-1 formation for the last three games: “It’s not about systems; we talk about rotating here; we’ve tried to make sure we don’t concede goals so sloppily.”
With Reda Johnson now ruled out for four or five weeks with his foot injury, and Joe Mattock having had the same illness that hit Chris Maguire, there could be a new chance at left back for Daniel Jones.
Ross Barkley plays the final game of his loan spell, with Jones wanting to extend the deal.
“We’ve brought in people like Jay Bothroyd and Ross, who have that quality. If they do things right than the players around them will learn from that. When you bring in quality players, it brings out the best in others, or the others can’t live with them,” he said. “The players here have stayed confident because they know we’re not far away from getting it right.
“We know we need a win. We know we need to keep a clean sheet. We have to work for that, and that’s what we’re doing.
“It’s early days yet in this division, and anything can happen. It’s so tight.
“If we can transfer into games what we have been doing in training, then watch us go.”
Jones is happy with young players who are coming through and with the way foundations for the future are being laid.
But when asked whether he thought he would get the time to see long-terms plans through, he was philosophical, believing that the life of a manager is always insecure.
“Your job is always in jeopardy. I got Cardiff into their highest position, with their highest number of points, and made the most money for them and still went! Does it bother me? I never want it to happen. I can only do my best,” he said.
“That’s the life of a football manager.
“It’s all about making sure the foundations aren’t on sand but are on firm ground where you can build.”
But he did not think his current position was in danger, had not really thought about it, and was due to have dinner with chairman Milan Mandaric last night.
“We get on okay; we have a rapport,” said Jones. “I’m sure the chairman wants results to change, like everyone else. When clubs decide to make a change [in management], there’s nothing you can do about it.
““Football isn’t pressure to me. I’m doing something I really love. That was nearly taken away from me a long time ago - that’s pressure, this isn’t; it’s something to enjoy.
“I’ve just said to a player: ‘This is the best time in your life; it’s a fantastic life and you get paid for it.’
“Sometimes I haven’t enjoyed the good times as much as I should have. I don’t enjoy the bad times, but you always have another day.”