Manager Csaba Laszlo believes Dundee United will face the surprise package of the Championship when Livingston come calling.
Laszlo was at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Tuesday night to see Livi only manage a goalless draw against struggling Falkirk.
That result meant the Tangerines can stretch their advantage over David Hopkin’s men to 10 points by beating them at Tannadice tomorrow.
Nevertheless, Laszlo is wary of a team that inflicted one of the most disappointing defeats of the season on United at Almondvale back in October in what proved to be his predecessor Ray McKinnon’s penultimate match in charge.
“I saw Livingston play the other night and it was a tough game against a Falkirk side looking for points,” said Laszlo.
“You never know where you are with them because they made a very good start but they have had a lot of games called off.
“You never know how that can affect your confidence.
“Sometimes it can be a help if you have a lot of injuries and need time to bring players back but, really, you want to be playing regularly.
“Livingston are a very physical team and play simple but effective football.
“Also, don’t forget that we lost 2-0 in Livingston the last time so now we have to fight back.
“Livingston, traditionally, have always been a good club.
“Previously, they also had a lot of time in the Premier League and have been a big club in the Championship too.
“We can see that they have been in the top half of the table and doing very well.
“The question for them is whether or not they can keep the run going.
“Overall, I would conclude that, yes, they are the team that have been the surprise of this league.”
United, who will have captain Willo Flood available again after his shoulder injury, will be assured of top spot going into the New Year if they can beat Livi then follow that up with an away win over St Mirren in a week’s time.
Laszlo isn’t getting ahead of himself, though.
He said: “That is important for us because if we do beat Livingston and then St Mirren that will be a big step forward for us.
“However, what is more important than being top going into January is being there at the end of the season.”
Meanwhile, the United boss wished striker Patrick N’Koyi well after he had his contract terminated by mutual consent.
Laszlo said: “Patrick had been frustrated at not seeing much action and spoke to me about it.
“It was in both our interests that he go elsewhere to find more onfield action.
“This creates space within the squad for me to bolster our attacking options if the right quality becomes available.”