Chris Wilder believes the achievements of their latest opponents Wigan Athletic should remind Sheffield United about the importance of showing ambition and thinking big as his employers prepare to enter a critical phase of the season.
Tomorrow's visitors to Bramall Lane reached the finals of both the EFL and FA cups during an eight season stay in the Premier League, securing European football when they won the latter in 2013.
With United knowing a win over Paul Cook's side could see them climb back to the top of the Championship, supporters will be hoping Wilder’s comments resonate with the South Yorkshire club's hierarchy ahead of the January transfer window when Derby County, Middlesbrough and others challenging for promotion are expected to spend big.
"It just shows what can happen with a bit of backing and ambition," Wilder, referring to Wigan's accomplishments, said. "With all due respect, and I have respect for them, they're not the most glamorous of clubs. Most people in Wigan will probably tell you the rugby league lads are the biggest team there.
"But that doesn't matter if you've got that backing from the top. It's not the first time that's happened either. It's happened with Bournemouth and Blackburn Rovers as well."
Wilder has distanced himself from United's boardroom politics since agreeing a new contract during the close season, preferring to focus on football matters instead. But the two could prove impossible to separate during the build-up to Christmas, when the 51-year-old finalises his latest recruitment drive.
United, who drew with a Stoke City side containing nearly £70m of talent on Tuesday, allowed on loan youngster Ben Woodburn to represent Liverpool's under-23's last weekend. But, speaking ahead of the meeting with Wigan, Wilder confirmed the youngster has not returned to his parent club on a permanent basis.
"Ben was just there for that game because we felt he needed some football," Wilder said. "He went there to do the prep work you always do before every under-23's game and then for the match itself. He came straight back here and he's been working hard."