Date: 17th October 2008 at 2:31pm
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The Steel City derby is a one-off clash, form goes right out of the window, but both Brian Laws and Kevin Blackwell know the importance of the role the fans will take on Sunday.

United will bring around 6,000 to make the Leppings Lane end of Hillsborough red and white, but they’ll be vastly outnumbered by the blue and white side of the city, and, hopefully, vastly outsung.

But with both Owls boss Brian Laws and Kevin Blackwell fully aware that anythign can happy on derby day, they’re both calling to the fans of both side to act as the proverbial 12th man at S6 on Sunday.

Laws was impressed at the atmosphere made by Wednesday fans the last time the two teams met at Hillsborough – resulting in a comfortable 2-0 win to the Owls.

And he’s hoping for Hillsborough to be bouncing again come 1.15pm on Sunday.

‘My message to the fans is ‘you can play a major part in this game,” he told the Sheffield Star ahead of the game.

‘They give us great backing and if they flock to the game and get behind us like they did in last season’s home derby, then it will be half the battle done.

‘The atmosphere at last season’s game was unbelievable; it was an inspiration to the players. The fans will play an integral part again.’

And Blades boss Kevin Blackwell was asking for a similar response from the travelling red and white Blades fans.

‘(It) isn’t just a game, it’s THE game,’ he told the Sheffield Star.

‘The atmosphere will be something else but we know we’ll have lots of friends there.

‘Our followers have been absolutely magnificent ever since I’ve been here and I know that’s going to be exactly the same again.

‘I can’t stress enough how big a role they have to play in what we do this term and that’s especially true in situations like this.

‘The players really value them, as do myself and my staff, because they give the boys such tremendous backing. That really does count.’

Hillsborough is expecting the biggest crowd of the season in South Yorkshire for the derby, with sales going well according to the Wednesday ticket office, and both fans will no doubt be in fine voice to advertise the Steel City derby in a good light, with it being broadcast live on satellite television.