Nigel Clough, the Sheffield United manager, says his injury-ravaged team faces the ultimate test of character when they go to Scunthorpe this afternoon.
With the suspended Chris Basham joining Terry Kennedy on the sidelines, United could enter the League One fixture without a recognised centre-half if Jay McEveley’s damaged shoulder does not respond to treatment.
Clough, acknowledging the hosts’ forward-line will attempt to exploit any sign of weakness in the visitors’ defence, warned: “Paddy Madden in particular is very dangerous and (Gary) McSheffrey, on his day, can cause anyone problems.
“We’ll see how all those carrying knocks react in training but we need to balance that against the fact we need a result.
“So we’ve got to pick a team which is capable of going there and doing that.”
Fifth-placed United make the journey to north Lincolnshire hoping to avoid a third successive defeat.
Their opponents, meanwhile, have failed to pick up a win in any of their previous five games.
“I don’t know how others are viewing us, we have to look in-house and look after our own camp,” Clough added.
“We don’t like losing games and especially at home.
“There are mitigating circumstances but we’ve still lost the games and only way to put it right is to win the next one and certainly not lose it.”
United, who are also expected to be without Ryan Flynn and Mark Howard, trail the automatic promotion places by 13 points but are 11 ahead of Scunthorpe in 17th.
“Mark Robins came in and made them very hard to beat,” Clough said. “It’ll be one of their biggest game of the season with our fans going there.
“It doesn’t matter where you pick your points up. Things haven’t gone our way at Bramall Lane recently so if we have to win games on the road, that’s fine. Our recent performances at Notts County, Rochdale and Crawley were all very encouraging.”