Chris Wilder expects a tough test against second-placed Derby County on New Years Day.
But Wilder insists the Blades will be positive at the iPro Stadium, against a team the Blades boss believes will be right up there come the end of the season.
He remarked: "They've picked up pace and are currently in great nick in terms of points and position.
"They are an established Championship club who've come close on a few occasions recently and they've often threatened to get into the Premier League.
"But this is possible one of the strongest and most powerful squads in the division, right up there with the likes of Villa, Middlesbrough and Wolves for me."
The Gaffer added: "If you were predicting who would be there or thereabouts, Derby would easily be in the top four, they've gone under the radar a bit, but recently they've picked up wins
"Monday will be a tough test because they've got a strong squad and whether or not they make changes they won't be any weaker.
"These are fantastic games for us though and it was a great day when we beat them back at the Lane in August."