NEW manager Micky Adams takes charge of his first game as Sheffield United manager hamstrung by the unavailability of four key players.
Midfielders Nick Montgomery, Andy Reid and Stephen Quinn plus defender Kyle Bartley are all banned for this afternoon's trip to Burnley.
The suspensions are linked to the bad-tempered defeat at Norwich City four days ago which also brought a misconduct charge from the Football Association.
Montgomery and Bartley are banned for one game after collecting fifth bookings of the season while Quinn and Reid were sent off for violent conduct and now serve three-game bans.
With defender Andy Taylor also joining a lengthy long-term injury list over Christmas, Adams has only 14 senior professionals available including two goalkeepers.
Adams met his new squad for the first time yesterday morning and now has two games in the space of three days, against Burnley and Doncaster Rovers.
The Blades are only two points clear of the Championship relegation zone and could drop into the bottom three if they lose at Turf Moor.
"I don't think there is a great deal of impact I can have in these next two games other than massaging a few egos and trying to pick players up," said Adams.
"We are in a relegation battle and we want to fight our way out of it – but we have got a few suspensions which does not help."
The Blades released caretaker-manager John Carver and assistant Sam Ellis after the Norwich defeat – leaving Adams to reach, largely, his own verdict on today's team selection.
"I am sure everyone will have an opinion on what the team should be," he said. "I will pick (development coach) Mark Smith's brain and (goalkeeping coach) Paul Crichton's, and the physios, and the masseurs.
"Looking at the squad, there is clearly a group of players who should be doing better – but confidence is not a pill you can give players. It has to be a self motivating thing. If there was a pill, I think we would all buy it, wouldnt we?
"I am just going to have to suck it and see over these next couple of games."
Midfielder Johnny Ertl is expected to deputise for centreback Bartley while, in the centre of the park, Adams may hand a first start of the season to Lee Williamson, who has been an unused substitute for the last three games after recovering from back surgery in the summer.
Burnley, who won promotion to the Premier League two seasons ago thanks to a play-off final victory over the Blades, sacked manager Brian Laws – the former Sheffield Wednesday chief – this week and installed coach Stuart Gray as caretaker boss for the next three games.
The Clarets had lost their last two home games and sit ninth, two points adrift of the play-off zone.
Gray said: "I feel honoured and grateful that the club has asked me to take it on. I am at the head, picking the team and organising them, but the most important thing is that we go out there on Turf Moor and start making our patch a little bit more difficult, entertain the crowd, and get the supporters going."