Sheffield United boss Kevin Blackwell has fired a warning to his promotion chasing side ahead of tomorrow's Bramall Lane clash ? don't underestimate the Canaries.
The former Leeds and Luton chief was at The Valley last weekend to witness that FA Cup stalemate after the Blades' tie at Leyton Orient became a victim of the New Year freeze.
And he was suitably impressed with Glenn Roeder's men ? even though City regulars would be the first to admit it wasn't 08/09's most sparkling performance.
“I certainly don't allow the players here to approach a fixture against a team lower than ourselves in any complacent frame of mind,” Blackwell told the Sheffield media this morning.
“Norwich will be tough opposition, no question, but we are looking for a win. The sum of their parts often doesn't seem to add up.
“They have a decent squad of good players and if you allow them to, they will play you. I suspect Norwich fans wonder just why their team is where it is because they can cause problems.
“It could be similar to the Charlton game here, they are similar teams and when I watched them last week they virtually cancelled each other out.”
We all know what the Championship is like. There are not many fixtures that scream 'banker!' on a punter's betting slip.
And as far as Blackwell is concerned, tomorrow's encounter will be yet another tough battle in another grueling second tier season.
“Make no mistake, this is a 46 game slog, a real marathon with well-matched teams and no-one gives you anything.
“I have told the players that we need to win ten of our last twenty games, with a couple of draws, to guarantee our minimum aim of the play-offs.”
The postponement of the Blades' fixture at Orient last weekend ended up a mixed blessing in Blackwell's eyes and the enforced break has given the squad ample opportunity to clear up some bumps and bruises.
As a result, sixth-placed United have a near enough fully fit squad to choose from.
“We had one or two niggles going into that trip and the break will have been beneficial in that regard, but we had just built up some momentum as a team and I would have liked the chance to keep the rhythm going,” Blackwell told www.sufc.co.uk.
United have been bolstered by the return to fitness of Sun Jihai and the availability of Darius Henderson following suspension.
And Blackwell admitted that he is relieved that he has more to choose from than for recent games.
“The depth of the squad has increased again which is pleasing after we had so many injuries over Christmas. Really we are only without the three long-termers in Gary Speed, Ugo Ehiogu and Derek Geary.
“Keith Gillespie, Lee Hendrie and Kyle Walker are back from loan so we have a squad of 21 to choose from.”
Whilst Walker is still a prospect eagerly awaiting his Blades opportunity, Hendrie and Gillespie are established players still expected to mount a challenge:
“They are employed by Sheffield United and they are training hard to be in consideration here, that's their job. Everyone is equal here and if they continue to work hard they have a chance.”
For the visitors, it looks like fans' favourite Arturo Lupoli has done enough to force himself into the starting line-up after his second-half equaliser in South East London last weekend.
3,200 Canary supporters certainly made their feelings known at The Valley and he will lead the line alongside Antoine Sibierski.
Barring injury, Sibierski will play, of that there is no doubt. The only other 'physical presence', Darel Russell, sits this one out due to a one-match suspension and the half-fit Carl Cort looks good for a place on the bench at best.
In midfield, David Bell could come back into the reckoning after missing the Cup clash with an ankle knock and the smart money would be on Mark Fotheringham retaining his place alongside Sammy Clingan.
Matty Pattison could also come into contention and whilst City are certainly struggling for numbers at the front and back, they are actually well stocked in the middle of the park.
At the back, Roeder admitted this morning that Jonathan Grounds hadn't returned to Norfolk “to get splinters in his bum…” so expect a Doherty-Grounds partnership with Jon Ostemobor and Ryan Bertrand at full-back.