Nigel Pearson has praised Sheffield United and manager Chris Wilder ahead of Watford facing them on Boxing Day.
The new Hornets head coach is a legend at rivals Sheffield Wednesday. Pearson spent seven years as a player at Hillsborough. He played over 200 times for Wednesday and won the League Cup and promotion to the top flight as captain.
Despite moving onto Middlesbrough and then managing across the country – and even in Belgium – Pearson has continued to live in Sheffield.
So going up against the Owls’ great rivals might hold a little more significance than most games. Especially as he faces a Blades side in superb form since getting promoted to the Premier League.
Wilder’s men are currently fifth in the table after 18 games. They have the third best defensive record in the division and are unbeaten away from home in nine matches.
Meanwhile, Pearson is Watford’s third boss of the season already. The 56-year-old is tasked with trying to lift the Hertfordshire club off the foot of the table and away from relegation.
Pearson has admittedly had a decent impact at Vicarage Road. They most recently recorded a 2-0 victory over Manchester United.
What Nigel Pearson thinks about the Blades
The appointment of Pearson by the Hornets takes the total tally of British managers in the top flight to ten. Wilder is also among them and is greatly impressing with his work at Bramall Lane.
“I don’t think my personal connection with Sheffield Wednesday is really relevant,” Pearson said in his pre-match press conference.
“They are a really good team. They’ve got a fantastic work ethic and play an expansive brand of football. They will cause most teams big problems because of their commitment to how they play.
“I think Chris Wilder has done a marvellous job at Sheffield United. He’s a nice guy as well.”