Chris Wilder expects nothing less than a second stern test, when his side head to the north-east to face Middlesbrough on Tuesday evening.
Speaking ahead of the clash at The Riverside, Wilder says he has genuine respect for his opposite number and believes Tony Pulis is the right man to take Boro back to the Premier League.
The United chief commented: "Boro are another tough, powerful team in the division and I've got to know Tony (Pulis) over the last couple of seasons and he wants to get them into the Premier League.
"But he's talked about them not being strong enough to do so and I stand back and think wow. I know they've lost a few I totally understand that, but they will definitely strength and in my mind they are one of the favourites to get out of the division.
"The chairman has always backed his manager up there and Tony is vastly experienced, so obviously they've got a good relationship and Boro are a very powerful club in this division.
Wilder added: "We went up there last year and disappointed not to get something from the game, but we competed excellently and I'm looking for a repeat on Tuesday and hopefully we'll get a result.
"Swansea at home, followed by Boro away is a tough start, but we were close on Saturday and we need to be even better to go close on Tuesday night."