Sheffield Wednesday must beat Rotherham United this afternoon if they are serious about winning promotion to the Premier League this season.
That is the verdict of Owls skipper Glenn Loovens ahead of the South Yorkshire derby with the Millers at Hillsborough.
Rotherham may currently occupy the basement of the Championship but Loovens is expecting a tough test from Paul Warne’s side.
He does however see victory as vital towards the goal of achieving promotion this term.
“If we are to push for promotion, we need to win these games at home,” Loovens said.
“This is going to be a hard game, no doubt about that.
“They are fighting for survival and it’s a local derby – there will be some extra tension on the game.
“Sometimes the ones who are at the bottom fight the hardest and make it the most difficult for you to play against. I expect a very hard game.”
The Owls will be heavy favourites to complete a pre-Christmas derby-double today by following a mid-week victory over Barnsley with a win against bottom side Rotherham.
But victory for the Millers at Hillsborough is fresh in the memory after they beat Wednesday 1-0 in March, the second game of the 11 match unbeaten run which saw them secure unlikely survival last season under Neil Warnock.
However Loovens insists revenge will not be on the mind of this Owls this afternoon.
He said: “Defeats are never nice. It doesn’t matter which game you play in.
“But that is so far in the past and I cannot even remember what I ate last night.
“Let’s forget about these things and see what is coming.
“This game is totally different from last season.
“We are in different situations.
“I don’t like comparing things too much and must treat it as a game and come out on top.”
Loovens believes Wednesday can be satisfied with their season so far.
The Owls sit seventh in the Championship, one point outside the play-offs and nine shy of second spot, ahead of today’s clash.
Club captain Loovens remains confident they will achieve their ultimate goal of promotion this term, even though he admits stringing a good run of results together soon will be key.
“Sometimes they say it is not the same as last year but we are there abouts,” Loovens said.
“I am sure if we keep working hard, we will be there at the end of the season.
“We have to make sure we start this run and get off to a good start with another win.”