There are four big teams set to battle it out for promotion to the Premier League via the Championship play-offs this season – but perhaps none are as desperate as West Brom to make their way back to the top flight.
The Baggies are the only side relegated last season with a chance of an automatic return – Swansea and Stoke floundering around mid table – but they will not be favourites despite their recent experience among England’s elite.
It has already been a season of much change, from Darren Moore being axed for James Shan to the major squad shake up which came around last summer.
Speaking ahead of their first leg versus Aston Villa, another team recently relegated, Chris Brunt admitted that they were in with a great chance of success but that failure would be a big blow.
He told the Express and Star: “I don’t understand parachute payments and the way they work but it is an important season for the club. It’s a good chance to bounce straight back and obviously not lose out.
“If we can’t do that everybody is under no illusions there will be a lot of changes here in the summer, which is not nice. It’s never nice to see because it doesn’t just affect the playing squad and the coaching staff, it affects people all round the club as well.
“You’ve just got to go and try to win two football matches. You’ve got to try and put that to the back of your mind as best you can.”
Unfortunately for the West Brom top brass, Brunt’s stark admission that change is a certainty is the truth – you need only look at the sides who have failed to earn their place among the Premier League after dropping out to see the damage it does.
Players will be leaving, staff members, both footballing and otherwise, might be out of a job and the whole club will be facing plenty of uncertainty.
If the players recognise that, so will the club’s top brass.