Manager Simon Grayson says there is no hiding from the fact that January saw his side under-perform, but says the FA Cup can be a great filip.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that we’ve not picked up the points that we should have done in January,” he said. “The team and the squad have not performed anywhere near how we would have liked them to have done; but that happens over the course of a season.
“But, it can change very quickly.
“We can still achieve our target of automatic promotion and everyone we have here believes that. We have a really positive attitude that we can achieve what we need to achieve.
“There has been some doom and gloom, and rightly so, because we have let ourselves down with the recent performances and results.
“The tie on Tuesday night is a fantastic opportunity to get back on track. It can be a scrappy 1-0 game that gets you back on track.
“We have players that are hurting; the staff are hurting but we are very confident that we have the ability in the squad to get things right.”
The Blades come into the game in fine form, having defeated then table-toppers Swindon Town on Saturday, with another much-changed side selected by Nigel Clough and the PNE boss expects a similar amount of tinkering ahead of the fourth round replay.
“Over the last few weeks they have had a lot of games,” he continued. “At the weekend they made ten changes from their ‘strongest’ team for the Tottenham game, so maybe it will revert back to that team to play against us on Tuesday night.
“No matter what personnel they put out they will play the same way. They have some good players; it will be an intense game and both teams know that if they can win, they know what the incentive is in the next round.
“It is going to be a tie where we are both trying to win it; we both know a lot about each other – strengths and weaknesses – and we just have to go, perform and recapture that like spark that has been missing.”
The prize for victory on Tuesday night would be a fifth round tie live on BBC1 against either Cambridge United or Manchester United, something the gaffer is happy to be used as motivation, rather than banning talk of what could be on the agenda.
“Everybody would daft to try and ignore what could be on the horizon in the next round. There is no getting away from the fact of what the prize is for winning this tie.
“Hopefully it is a motivation and it can be a massive spark for us, because of what it can lead to.
“The incentive first and foremost is to get back on track with a victory and then the fact we could be in the fifth round of the FA Cup,” he added.