Sheffield United face table-toppers Fulham on Monday night in the first big test since Paul Heckingbottom took charge.
Two wins in two for Heckingbottom and a huge improvement in performance have revitalised hope for the Blades making the top six but they will have to be at the best if they are to get a result against the Cottagers
It’s made more difficult by the fact that Fulham boast the division’s top goal scorer in Aleksandar Mitrovic.
Quiz: Have Fulham signed a player from each of these 20 clubs in the last 5 seasons?
The Serbian has netted 22 goals so far this campaign and could break Ivan Toney’s Championship record of 31 goals if he is to carry on at his current rate.
However, Heckingbottom has told media that he has a plan to keep Mitrovic quiet and it involves cutting off the supply lines to the forward.
Speaking to the Examiner, he said: “It’s difficult. Your plan is to be wary of him. He needs service, but if he gets service he scores goals.
“It’s a plan for him – anywhere in the final third he is dangerous, especially around the box – but then there becomes a bigger picture: how do you stop that service or limit that service?
“That’s what’s important to us, because if we are stopping that it means we are controlling parts of the game which are really important.
“Even if they have got the ball, can we control those parts of the game?”
Sheffield United could move up to 11th with a win against Fulham as they look to close in on the play-off places at the half-way stage of the season.
Heckingbottom is right to think about the supply rather than Mitrovic.
If you focus on Mitrovic, you could leave other talented and dangerous players free for Fulham who can punish you.
In restricting the supply to Mitrovic, Sheffield United nullify a talented creative force as well as the divisions best striker.
Nonetheless, it will be a difficult game for the Blades and provide supporters with a fair indicator of their progress under Heckingbottom so far.