Chris Wilder says Sheffield United have nothing to lose against Aston Villa this weekend, describing Saturday's game against the former European champions as a "free hit" for his team.
Despite preparing for the match having won their last three Championship outings, Wilder believes the difference in spending power between United and their next opponents means all the pressure is on Steve Bruce's side.
"We've got a great game coming up, one where we've got nothing to lose and where we can go out and really enjoy it," Wilder said. "If we can get something from that, then we've had a pretty good start to the season."
Despite experiencing financial difficulties during the close season after being beaten in the play-off final, Villa have since embarked upon another major recruitment drive after attracting investment from billionaires Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens. Netherlands winger Anwar El Ghazi, valued at around £7m, Atlético Madrid's André Moreira and Scotland midfielder John McGinn are among Bruce's recent acquisitions. United hope to sign Villa's Scott Hogan before Friday's loan deadline but a deal could hinge upon Bruce's ability to bolster his own attacking options.
Despite his attempt to position Villa as favourites, Wilder insisted it would be a mistake to suggest United are not convinced they can record their first league victory over the visitors since 1991.
"I don't want us to be a spike side," the United manager added. "One who thinks 'we've had a couple of wins so now we can drop off.'
"We try and set them up and make decisions, make substitutions. But they, the players, are the ones who go out there and do the business. So when things go well, the deserve the credit."