DANNY Wilson, the Sheffield United manager, has warned his team they must be prepared to win ugly at Rochdale tonight.
United travel to Spotland looking to climb back into automatic promotion places after slipping to third following yesterday’s round of League One games.
Despite encouraging United to “express themselves” on the ball, Wilson admits they could be forced to reveal the darker side of their character against opponents embroiled in a bitter fight for survival.
He said: “There are times when you can play and there are times when you’ve got to roll up your sleeves and dig deep.
“That’s what has really impressed me about the lads here - their attitude. Right from day one they’ve stuck together as a group and just focused on themselves.
“There have been quite a few occasions when people have been saying they’re going to be under pressure and they’ve just concentrated on the job in hand.”
Wilson added: “If people are expecting a pretty game (at Rochdale) then they might be disappointed.”
While United know that any kind of positive result will lift them to second, Rochdale are bottom after being overtaken by Chesterfield.
Wilson said: “Rochdale are going to relish the chance of playing against us.
“They’ll want to claim a scalp they’ll want to make a statement.
“I’m expecting them to be giving absolutely everything and we’ll have to be ready to match that.
“Rochdale will still believe that anything is possible. If anyone thinks that anyone is going to pushovers at this stage then they’ll be in for a nasty surprise.”