Dundee United boss Robbie Neilson has set his charges the challenge of finishing the month at the top of the league by getting all three points tonight at Ayr.
Since the last meeting between the sides, a 5-0 hammering dished out by the Honest Men in November, the Tangerines have managed to close the gap on the league leaders.
United go into the clash at Somerset Park level on points with their hosts, though Ayr have a game in hand over their rivals, and three off top-of-the-tree Ross County, who play on Saturday.
And Robbie is pleased with the position his side have put themselves in as we head towards the business end of the season.
He said: “The last six weeks has shown the league is open, I mean our form hasn’t been great but we’ve still managed to pick up more points than the other two and get ourselves back into a really good position at this point.
“If we can end the January window up at the top of the league it would be great for us and still have a little bit of the transfer period to get a couple of players in as well.”
Ian McCall’s Ayr side’s form has slipped of late with no wins in their last six matches and go into tonight’s contest on the back of three 1-0 defeats – the last a cup shock to Junior side Auchinleck Talbot that made headlines all across the country.
Robbie, though, isn’t taking much notice of that and says it’s all about the Honest Men getting their key players back fit and playing.
He said: “Ayr don’t have a huge squad and they have one or two players who are the difference between winning and losing so they’ll be desperate to try to get these guys back in the team. Whether they do or not will probably be telling in the game.
“We’re going down with a full squad, recently in good form and we look to go down there and try to win the game.”
Top scorer Lawrence Shankland, who ran United ragged last time out as he racked up four goals, has been out with injury but Robbie expects Ayr to do everything in their power to get him in their side.
He added: “Nothing surprises me, they’ll be desperate to get him out anyway, even if just for some part of the game.
“One because he’s obviously one of their better players but also because it’s near the end of the window and I think he’ll be desperate to get in that shop window.
“I knew him as a kid when he was in the reserves (at Aberdeen). Sometimes the shock of coming out of a big club like that has seen him get into better shape.
He’s definitely done that, I think he’d be first to admit that.”