GREAT Yorkshire show or capital punishment? The next 90 minutes will potentially decide.
Danny Wilson understandably refused to offer any guarantees about the outcome of today’s play-off final against Huddersfield Town when he held court with the media earlier this week.
But the Sheffield United manager did make one prediction.
If the footballing gods chose to intervene at Wembley then, Wilson insisted, his charges will be competing at Championship level next term.
“The expectation levels here are massive,” Wilson said. “It’s not often that you are privileged to be somewhere of this stature but I’m fortunate enough to have been given that.
“We are close but, at the same time, nowhere near yet.
“If we do go up it will be a magnificent achievement for everybody.
“We have some great staff here and the lads have shown a terrific determination after being relegated last year.
“There was a lot of disappointed faces around here in the summer, not least the fans, and the boys deserve immense credit for turning that around and giving people something to be proud of.
“For their sake and the supporters, I just hope we can do it.
“I really do think it would be deserved.”
Unfortunately, as Wilson is only too aware, folk don’t always get their just rewards.
But, despite being dealt some horrendous cards towards the end of the League One season, the former Northern Ireland international insisted United still possess a strong hand.
Simon Grayson, his counterpart across the technical area, will privately feel Town hold the ace in the pack - prolific centre-forward Jordan Rhodes - although Wilson was quick to remind on Tuesday the 40 goal marksman will not be the only match-winner on show.
“Huddersfield have some terrific players. But, do you know what, we do too,” he said.
“It’s nip and tuck. Two good teams going into a game that either could win.
“Obviously for them, you can’t look beyond Jordan, but we also know it would be foolish just to focus on him.
“Huddersfield have got lots of good strengths and attributes. Just like us.”
United could wait until this morning before making their final selection for a contest also set to influence the club’s manoeuvres in the transfer market.
Kevin McDonald, whose contract expires shortly, aggravated a hamstring complaint during the semi-final victory over Stevenage while Richard Cresswell is nursing a catalogue of injuries, the latest being an eye infection which ruled him out of the second leg against Gary Smith’s side.
“It’s lasted a little longer than expected,” Wilson, assessing Cresswell’s situation, said. “I’m not an expert in that field but I’m told it’s something to do with his contact lenses.
“The inflammation is very sore and his vision is impaired a bit.
“We thought he’d have been okay five days or so ago but that’s not been the case.”
“Kevin’s problem is with the same hamstring,” added Wilson. “With him we just don’t know.”
Grayson took charge of Town when predecessor Lee Clark was sacked following United’s victory at the Galpharm Stadium in February.
Like Wilson, whose appointment was initially greeted with derision in some quarters, the former Leeds chief has faced a battle to win over a sceptical support.
“We knew from that moment on they would be contenders,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately it was Lee’s last game but Simon has kept the momentum going.
“I don’t know how keen the rivalry is between Huddersfield and Leeds because I’ve not experienced it.
“But I have experienced it here in this city and that’s why I understand it.”
Wilson, who previously represented Sheffield Wednesday as both a manager and a player, travelled to London safe in the knowledge he as already won his personal PR battle, having steered United to third in the table by delivering stylish performances and impressive results.
A far cry from the shambolic situation he inherited following their relegation last May.
“When you go into a spiral of losing games I don’t think you see the best of any player,” Wilson said. “But when we got the lads back for pre-season you could see there was a lot of quality.
“We knew we had to lose a lot of players and we did. Six, seven or eight. But there was still a good nucleus.
“The experience was there and that gave us optimism.
“We never talked about relegation. We just tried to give them their confidence back.
“And, do you know what, they’ve responded great.”