Starting the game in the right manner will be even more important than usual if Doncaster Rovers intend to blunt the Blades.
That is the verdict of Rovers boss Darren Ferguson, who says Sheffield United will have “an element of nerves in their team”.
Rovers go into tomorrow’s Keepmoat Stadium clash having seen their own momentum stall - and also having conceded the first goal in each of their last six games on home soil.
However, with just one win from their last six league games, the Blades are acutely aware that their top six hopes are hanging in the balance.
And Ferguson wants his team to capitalise on any vulnerability in their near neighbours’ camp by making a positive start.
“I think the opening period of the game will be important,” said Ferguson.
“There’s no question that there’s an element of nerves in their team.
“We have to start the game right,” he added.
“Whenever we’ve gone ahead there’s only one game we haven’t won, which was at Burton. That’s a good stat.
“There’ll be periods of the game when it’ll be helter skelter, like any derby.
“But I hope there are more periods when there’s good composure from my team and we play good, quick football. I think that’s going to be key.”
Rovers are without a win against the Blades in their last six meetings and have lost on the last three occasions.
But Ferguson is relishing the prospect of another five-figure Keepmoat crowd and is hopeful that could have a knock-on effect.
“It’s a game I’m really looking forward to personally because it’s one I think can bring the best out of my team, with the atmosphere and all the rest of it,” he said.
He joked: “I’ve been trying to get a box for this game for about two months. I still can’t get one!
“There’ll be a big crowd in, like the Stoke game. Hopefully our performance will match the one on that day.”
Thorsten Stuckmann, Andy Butler and Nathan Tyson all look set to return to the starting-line up.
Ferguson will check on Conor Grant (rib) today but is confident the Everton loanee will be fit enough to return to the squad.