Sheffield United: ‘If we just stroll-up, then Rotherham United will beat us’
Chris Wilder, the Sheffield United manager, has warned his team risk suffering a damaging set-back in the race for promotion from the Championship if they think they can simply "stroll up" and beat relegated threatened Rotherham.
United enter Saturday's game against Paul Warne's side third in the table, only two points behind second-placed Leeds ahead of next weekend's trip to Elland Road.
Although their neighbours are fighting for survival at the other end of the division, Wilder used November's draw between the two clubs at New York Stadium to outline the danger Rotherham will pose.
"If we or our supporters think we can just stroll up and roll them over then everyone is going to be in for a shock," Wilder said. "When we went to their place, they were the better side and I'd have felt pretty aggrieved if I was Paul or one of their fans to only get a draw.
"We were out-battled and outfought. We were very fortunate to get some sort of positive result. But we went toe to toe with them and that's what we'll do again."
United face Brentford on Tuesday, also at Bramall Lane, before locking horns with fellow Premier League hopefuls Leeds.
"A lot of people have talked about how big that one could be, about what might be at stake there," Wilder continued. "But if we don't nail this game down and then we don't nail Tuesday's down it puts a very different complexion on what might happen 30 miles or so up the road."
United midfielder Oliver Norwood will be ruled-out of the fixtures against Brentford and Leeds if he is cautioned during the derby with Rotherham. The Northern Ireland international has been booked nine times so far this term, including once by referee Geoff Eltringham who oversees this weekend's contest.
"I've not spoken to Olly about it," Wilder admitted. "He's been in this position for a couple of games now and he's done well, he's giot through then, without changing his approach.
"The only instruction from me is try not to get a yellow (card) in the next two matches. Because then the slate is wiped clean."
The 51-year-old's comments suggest Norwood, barring injury or illness, will not be rested ahead of what promises to be a hugely significant with Leeds. However, several of the Northern Ireland international's team mates could be as Wilder contemplates changes.
"We might make some because of the effort the lads have been putting in," he said. "But we won't take a wrecking ball to it (the starting eleven). We'll just take that into account and also acknowledge the different opposition."