Title-winning boss Chris Wilder relishing his Cobblers return

Chris Wilder managed the Cobblers to their Sky Bet League Two title success in 2016
Chris Wilder managed the Cobblers to their Sky Bet League Two title success in 2016

Chris Wilder says he is ‘really looking forward’ to returning to the Cobblers on Saturday.

The former Town boss brings his Sheffield United team to the PTS Academy Stadium for a pre-season friendly (ko 3pm) - and he can’t wait.

Wilder was in charge when the Cobblers claimed the Sky Bet League Two title in 2016, but then left to take over at his home town club.

He has enjoyed remarkable success with the Blades, winning the league one title in his first season, claiming promotion with a win at Sixfields, and is now preparing United for the Premier League following last season’s promotion from the Championship.

But his time at the Cobblers is still a source of huge pride for Wilder and his assistant Alan Knill, and the Blades boss said: “I am really looking forward to Saturday, and it is something I wanted to tick off.

“The last time we came down it was pretty difficult to get round everybody and meet them, as it was quite an event, and quite a day for everybody (with the Blades’ promotion party).

“So it was always something that we wanted to do and we are delighted to bring a team down to Northampton.”

Since leaving the Cobblers, Wilder has only been back to the club twice, once as a Sky TV pundit and the other time with the Blades, and he admits he has been saddened the club is back in league two.

“I came back when Northampton played Manchester United in the cup, but sometimes it is difficult,” said Wilder. “It was a successful period for us there, and you just want the team to do well.

“It has obviously been difficult for the past couple of years, but from my point of view, and Al’s, it was a fantastic period for us that we will always look back on very, very fondly.

“It was a special time, especially in the circumstances we did it in, and also the way that we did it.”

Wilder’s last two times in charge at Sixfields have been pretty raucous promotion parties, with the Cobblers in 2016 and United a year later, and he is looking forward to a more sedate return this weekend.

“The past two games I have been there have been celebrations, two out of two!” said Wilder. “So it will be nice to just look around.

“I have a lot of respect for Keith (Curle) who I have known for a long time, and I still speak to Kelvin Thomas quite regularly.

Myself and Alan are really looking forward to going back.”

The friendly against the Blades is the centre piece of the club's annual open day, which starts at 11am.

The day will also see the Cobblers launch their new home shirt, with the team wearing the new kit in the match against United..

As well as the match there will be plenty of stalls outside the stadium, and theere is no charge to visit the stalls outside the stadium.

Tickets for the Sheffield United game are available to buy.