Captain Glenn Loovens has called on Sheffield Wednesday to be brave ahead of their televised trip to Championship leaders Newcastle United.
The Owls, who occupy the final play-off berth, go to St James’ Park on Boxing Day chasing a third consecutive victory.
But the Magpies, seeking an instant return to the Premier League, are in fine form themselves, having won three on the bounce.
No team has scored more than Newcastle’s 45 goals in the second-tier and Loovens is acutely aware of the size of the task facing Wednesday.
The centre-back said: “Newcastle are, of course, the one’s to beat at the moment.
“We all know what a big club Newcastle are and what great players they have so they are the team to beat.
“We will go there without fear. We’ll play our own game and fight for every yard that we’re worth.
“Our form has been a little bit up and down until recently where we have had a bit of consistency.
“We have not taken the chances we have been creating in games which is frustrating. The crowd can see that we have not taken all our chances and it has been frustrating but they know we are playing well.
“On our day, we are a match for anyone in the league.”
Back-to-back Hillsborough successes over South Yorkshire neighbours Barnsley and Rotherham United in the space of five days ensured Wednesday headed into the festive period in high spirits.
“It was important we won these two games if we want to be up there at the end of the season,” said ex-Celtic defender Loovens. “You need to win these type of games, especially at home.
“I’m very glad we won them both and we can now look forward to a good week of training with Christmas at the end and a fantastic game coming up.”