MK Dons face Charlton at The Valley tonight in a clash between the first and fifth clubs in League One.
Dons manager Karl Robinson is targeting automatic promotion, with his team eight points behind Wednesday with two games in hand, and seven below the Blades from an equal number of games.
Robinson’s outfit trail fourth-placed Huddersfield by six points, and have played one match fewer than the Terriers. The two clubs drew 1-1 at the Galpharm Stadium a week last Saturday.
“Automatic promotion is still a realistic target,” Robinson said. “We showed that we can mix it with the sides up there. We’ve drawn with Huddersfield, we played better than Sheffield Wednesday, and we were better than Charlton at stadium:mk.
“We’ve not beaten these teams, but they’ve not blown us away. Last year there was a big gap between the sides.
“Collectively we’re getting stronger. But this league is really tough. We’re happy with where we are. It’s us against the world now, and we will fight for every inch and blade of grass.
“The players are willing to put their bodies on the line. I’ve seen a shift in mentality. Results might not show it yet, but it will. There’s a new direction about them that is getting stronger.
“We look good. I think they’ve got a togetherness that wasn’t there last year.”
The Dons manager’s claims that his team were superior to Wednesday in last month’s 1-1 draw would be disputed by the Owls, who had chances and possession and were disappointed not to win.