Manager Danny Wilson is hoping his Sheffield United side will provide him with some Christmas cheer as they prepare for the busy festive period.
United, who travel to play-off hopefuls Crawley Town on Saturday, have a typically congested Christmas fixture list which sees them play four games in the space of eleven days.
Wilson’s charges host Scunthorpe United on Boxing Day, and then Hartlepool United three days later.
A New Year’s Day trip to Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium concludes United’s festive commitments, and Wilson is hoping that United aren’t in the mood to be too generous towards their opponents in the season of goodwill.
“We’ve seen before that any team who puts three or four wins together over this period can lift themselves and put themselves into a very healthy position in the league,” Wilson said.
“That’s got to be our aim and our challenge for the next few games, without looking too far in front of the Crawley game.
“We have to be looking to get maximum points from this period, but they’ll all be tough challenges - Crawley got a great result away from home last weekend [beating Stevenage 2-1].
“But let’s see if we can go there and get a great away win ourselves.”
Wilson’s main injury concern again is midfielder Kevin McDonald, who missed last weekend’s stalemate with league leaders Tranmere Rovers with an ankle injury.
The United chief admits that he was surprised by how close his playmaker was to making a comeback for the Rovers clash, and hopes the Scot will recover in time to face Richie Barker’s men
“We don’t have many players like Kevin,” Wilson said.
“We’re hoping he’ll be in contention for Crawley and he’d be a big boost for us all.”
If McDonald fails to recover in time for the trip to the Broadfield Stadium, Wilson will have a decision on how to replace him.
Winger Ryan Flynn failed to impress when played in the middle against Tranmere, but the United chief is wary that partnering David McAllister with Michael Doyle will make his team over-industrious, rather than inventive.
Flynn, too, is counting the days until McDonald returns, so he can revert back to his more familiar role on the flank.
“I will always give 100 per cent wherever the Gaffer wants me to play,” Flynn said.
“But I am looking forward to Kevin returning and hopefully I can get back onto the wing.”
Wilson, who handed goalkeeper Danny Coyne an extension to his short-term contract earlier this week, could be tempted to recall Dave Kitson after the striker made a cameo comeback from his hamstring injury last weekend.
“Dave offers that bit of quality, and we’ll need him in the coming months,” Wilson said.
Meanwhile, Haiti international Lecsinel Jean-François has taken the first steps along the road to recovery from a knee injury after playing 90 minutes in a friendly against Port Vale.
The defender, who suffered a serious knee injury back in March, then injured the other knee on his comeback game against Notts County.
“It was a very good feeling,” Jean-François, who revealed that United won the game 3-1, tweeted.
“Bring on the next one!”
United will face Oxford United in the third round of the FA Cup, after they successfully negated Accrington Stanley in their rearranged second round replay on Tuesday evening.
The game is scheduled to be played at Bramall Lane on Saturday January 5, with a 3pm kick off.
* Follow Danny on Twitter: @dannyhall04