Paul Merson is changing from romanticist to pragmatist as he attempts to re-ignite Walsall's promotion campaign at a team he describes as 'the best in this division', writes Ian Clarkson.
A trip to Huddersfield Town isn't exactly what the doctor prescribed as the Saddlers try to end a winless streak of three games with an enormous injury list.
But, with a full team on the sidelines, player-manager Merson will have to take his medicine and batten down the hatches in an attempt to halt Huddersfield's promotion bandwagon.
The Galpharm Stadium is easily the best venue in League One and Merson's youthful team will have to withstand an intimidating atmosphere.
However, with Merson now forced to take a more analytical role because of his groin injury, he has decided discretion can sometimes pay dividends. And while he is still bullish about Walsall's chances, he admits his team won't adopt a suicidal approach.
"We certainly won't be going there with a gung-ho attitude, as I think they are the best team in this division," said Merson, who will recall Mark Kinsella in place of the suspended Simon Osborn.
"They have a big stadium, pitch and support, but I'd rather play a good footballing team than a team who just lump it.
"However, despite the fact they can play, they also have a long throw-in that builds up pressure on you.
"Our best hope is that their fans will underestimate us and become frustrated if they don't score early on.
"They only drew last time out at home and needed two last-minute goals to beat Brentford before that, so it is possible to get at them.
" I think Ishmel Demontagnac can cause them problems with his pace and I would be a lot more concerned if he wasn't available.
"He has got pace and confidence and is one of the few wingers I have seen who will keep coming back for more after he gets kicked."
Merson, who admitted he would look into the possibility of bringing back Southampton's Andrew Surman to Bescot when his current loan spell at Bournemouth expires in January, will be looking for Kinsella to help nurse his young bucks through a potentially difficult afternoon.
The player-reserve team manager has been kicking his heels as Osborn has become the mainstay of Merson's midfield, but has the perfect opportunity to stake a claim.
Steve Staunton is set to feature on the bench, despite being dogged with a calf problem, while Merson is likely to hold back Ian Roper until next week's home game with Doncaster.