SEAN Dyche has revealed his close relationship with Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder as the British bosses prepare to meet on Saturday.  

The Clarets chief, who faced Wilder during his playing days, has spoken of his admiration after getting to know the former Northampton and Oxford United manager on a personal level over recent years.

And this weekend two of English football’s longest serving managers will lock horns for the first time in the dug-out as Burnley travel to Bramall Lane. 

Dyche said: “I got to know him when he was at Oxford. He used to come over to the Watford training ground with his team for reserve games.  

“As I live in Northampton, I’d try and get down to watch a game at weekends during the international break, and if Chris heard that I was at the stadium he would always make a point of asking me to come down. 

“I thought it was a great gesture and I always went down to see him for 10 minutes before the game. I’ve always enjoyed his company and I still do when I get the chance to see him. I still speak to him on the phone every now and again. 

“I met him in the summer on a golf trip – where we had, I think, orange and lemonade! I’ve got a lot of time for him.”

Speaking at Thursday’s press conference, Dyche is under no illusions of the task in front of his team as they take on newly promoted Blades, managed by a man who he has great respect for.

“I think Chris has done a brilliant job,” he said. “Not just there but his whole career too and what he’s achieved at all the different places he’s been to. 

“We certainly think it’s not anything other than another very tough game. I like the way he goes about his business – there’s an earthiness and a very direct approach. 

“Equally, I think he’s modern enough to know what his players need and what the game needs for his team to be effective, and I think that’s been shown this season.”

In the week of Dyche’s seventh-year anniversary at Burnley, the 48-year-old dismissed ideas that Wilder’s United have similar traits to the side he had in the 2014/15 Premier League campaign. 

“I think it’s unfair to measure their players against what we’ve done and the groups that I’ve worked with,” the Clarets boss said.  

“Their players are doing a great job to adapt to the Premier League and continue to do so.” 

Dyche does believe though that he and his opposite number have a comparable out-look when it comes to management.

“He’s (Wilder) got his own ideas and he’s a strong character. I think he’s done well to adapt to the reality of the Premier League,” he said.

“I like that side of management – adapting to what the game needs to try and win rather than ‘we are only going to try to win this way’. I think they’ve done that well, but I hope they don’t do it well on Saturday, of course.”