KEITH Curle once played against Wednesday in a Sheffield derby on April Fools Day at Hillsborough and helped United to a 2-1 win.
He will be smiling again if his Notts County side beat the Owls on Saturday and extend his remarkable start as Magpies manager.
The 48-year-old who still lives in Sheffield has led County to five wins and a draw in his first six games - a run crowned by their shock 4-2 win at leaders Charlton last Saturday.
Now Curle is relishing the visit of Wednesday this week and Sheffield United next Tuesday - one club the old enemy, the other where he played for two years under Neil Warnock, whom he rejoined as a coach at Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers.
Curle played in that 2-1 win at Hillsborough on April 1, 2001. He also figured in a 2-1 League Cup defeat there the previous November, and in two 0-0 derby draws in the 2001-02 season.
He was signed by Warnock in the summer of 2000. “I’ve lived in Sheffield for a long time now and I have a lot of respect for both of the clubs,” said Curle.
“They are fantastic clubs that arguably shouldn’t even be in this division. One of them might not be next season, but we might be able to have a say in that. They are big games and you want to be in the big games at the end of the season. It’s fantastic.
“I believe in the players and they are starting to believe in themselves.”
Curle, who left QPR along with Warnock in January, was appointed as Martin Allen’s successor at Notts County last month. He has also managed Mansfield, Chester and Torquay.