By Tony Leighton
Graham Turner has fond memories of managing Wolverhampton Wanderers, the club which he supported as a boy and who he then led from The Football League's basement division up to Sky Bet Championship level in seven and a half fruitful years at Molineux during the late 1980s and early 1990s.
He still, by his own admission, looks for Wolves' results. And on Saturday, now as manager of Shrewsbury Town, he won't have far to look as the Molineux men visit the Shrews for a League 1 encounter that is so eagerly awaited by fans that the Greenhous Meadow looks set to have its attendance record broken.
The Shropshire-Staffordshire derby is whetting the appetite of everybody concerned, no one more so than Turner himself as the veteran former Aston Villa and Hereford United manager, 66 next month, prepares to do battle with Wolves for the first time in a competitive fixture since leaving the club in 1994.
"My time at Wolves was very enjoyable," Turner told football-league.co.uk. "I watched them as a boy when they had a great team with people like [the then England captain] Billy Wright playing for them, so I always had an affinity with the club and I've maintained my interest in them since I left.
"I wasn't able to take them up to the Premier League, but I was pleased for them when they eventually got there and it's a surprise to me that they're back in the lower divisions. I don't think that anybody thought, when they were in the top flight, that they would drop back below Championship level again.
"That's obviously a shame for Wolves and their supporters, but I look at it as a bonus for Shrewsbury to be playing against them in the same league and no matter that I supported and managed them, Shrewsbury is the most important club to me now and all I want on Saturday is three points for my team."
Turner is now in his fourth season back at Shrewsbury, where he started his managerial career as player-manager back in 1978. In that first spell he took the Shrews up to Championship level and has since won two promotions each with Wolves and Hereford and another one at the Greenhous Meadow in 2012.
Last season, following that 2012 climb up to League 1, Turner's team consolidated with a 16th-place finish in the higher division. This time round, having lost just one league game to date, they are currently sitting 13th in the table, 10 places and eight points below Wolves ahead of Saturday's clash.
Turner, who at the 2012 Football League Awards was handed the Contribution to League Football award, said: "We've had a solid start to the season in the circumstances - we would have liked to bring in another player or two, we've had injuries to experienced players and we're having to rely on loans.
"We've also had some very tough games, so with a young side the players deserve credit. We should probably have four more points than we've got because we've dropped leads and lost points because of it; but hopefully we can take the lead and keep it to take what would be three great points off Wolves."
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