Cobblers boss Justin Edinburgh says Chris Wilder should be welcomed back to Sixfields ‘with open arms’ on Saturday - but Town have to make sure the club’s former boss ‘leaves with nothing’.
Wilder brings his champions-elect Sheffield United to Sixfields for a big Sky Bet League One clash on Saturday, almost exactly a year on from sealing promotion from league two with the Cobblers.
Wilder of course went on to clinch title success with Town, before moving on to the challenge of managing his hometown club, and taking the Blades into the championship.
Sheffield United still need one more win to seal that promotion, and will be backed by 1,400 visiting fans on Saturday and 1,000s more watching on giant screens back at Bramall Lane.
Wilder has worked his magic in south Yorkshire, just as he did in Northampton, and is set to get a fantastic reception from all four sides of Sixfields Stadium on Saturday.
That is something Edinburgh feels Wilder deserves, but he is also intent on making his return an unhappy one if he can.
I am sure they (Chris Wilder and Alan Knill) will get a warm welcome, but for the 90 minutes we want to make it as hostile as we possibly can, and make sure they leave here with nothingCobblers boss Justin Edinburgh
“I have a lot of time for Chris, and he did a fantastic job here last season under really difficult circumstances, and that’s what made it such a great achievement,” said the Cobblers boss, who took over from Wilder’s successor Rob Page in January.
“He will be welcomed back into the football club with open arms, and rightly so, but there is a game to be played.
“We need to be thoroughly professional because we want to take as many points as we can between now and the end of the season.
“We want to keep the momentum, and finish as high up the league as we possibly can.
“I am sure it will be a big crowd on Saturday, Sheffield United will be followed by a big support, but we have been good at home.
“This is another challenge for us, it’s one we look forward to, and hopefully we will send Chris off packing and he’ll have to go and find some points elsewhere to continue what a fantastic job he has done.
“He has done that at the club he supports and it will be a bit of a fairy-tale, having continued the success he enjoyed here last season at Sheffield United.
“We want to make sure we give a good account of ourselves and continue the good form we are on, and I would think over the past six or seven games we are one of the top five or six clubs in this division, and we want to continue that form.
“That’s what we will be focusing on this week.
“We had the return of Ricky Holmes the other week with Charlton, and he was a talisman to the success of last season, but Chris and Alan Knill were at the forefront of that success.
“I am sure they will get a warm welcome, but for the 90 minutes we want to make it as hostile as we possibly can, and make sure they leave here with nothing.”