As a manager with three promotions from League One on his footballing CV, Nigel Adkins knows that clubs in the third tier of English football should be treated with respect.
Respect, but not fear.
“I know this is a tough division and, as a big team, everybody wants to beat us,” Adkins said, ahead of Sheffield United’s trip to bottom-placed Crewe this afternoon.
“I know every game is a challenge for different reasons. Look at Swindon... nothing is certain. All of a sudden, the manager there [Mark Cooper] has lost his job on the back of a couple of players being sold.
“I give everybody the utmost respect but, likewise, we are expected to beat them and that’s what I will be looking for us to do.”
Crewe - who, under the tutelage of Steve Davis, have won just two of their 17 competitive outings so far this term - represent a different challenge than the one posed by in-form Millwall in United’s last league game.
“We’ve done lots of work and preparation for Crewe,” Adkins added.
We’ve watched their games. They are better than where they are.
“They’ve probably not scored as many goals as they would have liked but they’ve not had a hammering, they’ve always been in the games.”
Adkins, who had 26 outfield players in training on Thursday morning, confirmed Bob Harris came through unscathed from his outing from United’s U21s on Tuesday and has enjoyed a full week at United’s Steelphalt Academy training base.
“Ryan [Flynn] has trained again too, which is good,” Adkins said.
“We know we’ve got too many players but, unfortunately, up to now, not all of them have been available.
“We are working very hard on the training ground. Working hard for the cause.
“We need harness to competition we have in central midfield at the moment, that energy and that drive.
“There are two things you’ve got to do and that’s play well and work hard.
“We want more possession than the opposition but with a killer pass which penetrates.
“Equally, when we don’t have it, we must work hard to get it back.
“There’s a common cause and camaraderie. We want to get promoted.
“We want to win the league.”