Knill must put friendship with Oxford counterpart Wilder on hold for a day
They are the best of friends, but Torquay United manager Alan Knill and Oxford United boss Chris Wilder will set all that to one side when they meet at Plainmoor on Saturday.
Wilder, formerly manager of Halifax Town until they went into liquidation, was Knill's assistant at Bury for six months before he was offered the chance to take over at Oxford in 2008.
The two men have remained allies when they are not in opposition, often sharing information on other teams and the transfer market.
"Chris and I go all the way back to our days as kids at Southampton," said Knill. "That was more than 30 years ago. Because I was a bit older, we weren't close then, but we've been good mates for years since – and especially since we've become managers.
"Chris worked so hard at Halifax, when he'd often bring a team over to play us at Bury, and he needed a fresh start when it ended for him there.
"He was the perfect fit to be an assistant and, even though he'd been a manager, it worked really well.
"I was disappointed to lose him at Bury, but pleased for him when he got the Oxford job," the Torquay boss added. "We speak all the time about all sorts of things, we did it through the summer constantly, and we usually sit at the same table at League manager do's.
"If there's any info I want checking or a bit of advice on something, I'll often ring Chris first. I think it's the same for him.
"On a match day, you don't really get involved with the other bench, because all you're concerned about is your own team, and Chris and I will concentrate on that on Saturday.
"It should be a real good game, and we'll have a drink and a good chat after, whatever happens."
The League Two season may be only two games old, but both sides have yet to lose – Torquay after two draws and early leaders Oxford with maximum points. More than a thousand Oxford fans are expected to make the trip to Devon, raising hopes of a near-4,000 gate.
Wilder's team have made a fast start this term, with wins at Portsmouth 4-1 and home to Bury 2-1. They also have one of League Two's 'marquee' signings in former Reading, Stoke City, Portsmouth and Sheffield United centre-forward Dave Kitson.
Knill, who will be without right-back Dale Tonge (suspension), is waiting on the fitness of goalkeeper Michael Poke and striker Elliot Benyon.
Poke is back in training after a thigh injury, while Benyon has been kept away from all contact since suffering concussion and bruising on his brain in last week's Capital One Cup defeat at Swindon Town.