SHEFFIELD United manager Danny Wilson has vowed to show former club Hartlepool no mercy at Bramall Lane this afternoon.
The visitors head to South Yorkshire 14 points adrift of safety at the bottom of League One and without a win in all competitions since September.
Wilson, who spent over two years in charge at Victoria Park earlier in his career, last night refused to speculate on the reasons behind Hartlepool’s demise but predicted: “The first goal is going to be absolutely crucial here because of confidence. We saw that the other day against Scunthorpe, what a difference it can make.
“We are only two points off our total at the same stage 12 months ago and we went on to get 90 then. If we can replicate the same total this time around then I think most statisticians will tell you we’ll be there or there abouts.
“But, although I know it sounds boring, we’re just taking it one game at a time.”
United, who remained top of the table when they beat Brian Laws’ side 3-0 in midweek, are without Neill Collins (cheekbone), Shaun Miller (knee) and the suspended Tony McMahon for the meeting with Hartlepool.
Despite their differing fortunes of late, United captain Michael Doyle told yesterday’s pre-match press conference that getting “a result, not a scoreline,” should be the hosts’ only objective.
Echoing those sentiments, Wilson added: “I completely agree with what Michael said. If you could offer me a 1-0 win now then I’d take it because the most important thing around this time isn’t a performance, it’s getting the points.
“Listen, I don’t care what it looks like on paper, we can’t take Hartlepool lightly because they’ll feel as if they’ve got nothing to lose.
“We have to focus on ourselves and absolutely nothing else.”