The way West Bromwich Albion played against Burnley last week, it seems just a matter of waiting another nine months before they are playing Premiership football again.
But they will get a small flavour of the Premiership tomorrow when they visit the Britannia Stadium to take on Stoke City — Lee Hendrie, Patrik Berger et al.
The arrival of on-loan Aston Villa midfielder Hendrie has been responsible for a turnaround in the Potters' form which has turned Tony Pulis's previously joyless outfit of honest toilers into a potential play-off team.
Hendrie's form has helped Stoke rocket up to seventh in the Championship table and that could yet get even better if they can get the same sort of success with fellow Villa midfielder Berger. He joined Hendrie on loan there yesterday in a deal that will keep him at Stoke until January 4.
Hendrie's form, however, since heading north up the M6 in late September has come as no surprise to the one man in the Albion team who knows him best — Steve Watson.
Albion also have another former team-mate of Hendrie's and Berger's in Kevin Phillips, who was part of the same Villa squad last season. But Watson's connection with Hendrie goes back to much happier times at Villa.
Eight years ago this week, Hendrie won his one and only England cap, having been picked on the back of his form for a Villa side, also containing Watson, who had gone 12 games unbeaten to go to the top of the Premiership.
Hendrie came on to make an impressive appearance as a second-half substitute in place of his Villa team-mate Paul Merson in a 2-0 win over the Czech Republic. And the parting shot from the then England manager Glenn Hoddle was 'See you for the next one'.
Unfortunately for Hendrie, a week before England's next game against France the following February, Hoddle paid the price for making public some of his bizarre views on life, and he was sacked. Howard Wilkinson picked the team instead — and Hendrie's England career was effectively over.
It was just another example of the ups and downs in Hendrie's career. But Watson knows better than anyone that the public's image of Hendrie is not the one his team-mates know.
"It's a good rule of thumb that applies to anyone, whether myself, Lee or whoever, that you should never make any judgements on people until you've spoken to them, got to know them and spent time in their company," said Watson. "And Henders is a really nice lad, one of the ones I got on really well with when I was at Villa."
As he is proving at Stoke, he can still play. And, Watson admits, he is a player who will need a lot of watching this weekend.
"He's still a very good player," said Watson, expected to simply be part of the 16 tomorrow. "He can play one touch or two touch, he can play it short or long, he has the skill to beat players and he has great ability from free kicks.
"And it's no surprise to me he's been a success for Stoke, as I'm convinced he can still do a job higher up."
Watson even hints that it might be better for Hendrie to bite the bullet and move on. Next week a decision will be made on whether Stoke can keep Hendrie for a third month, though Villa manager Martin O'Neill has this week seriously considered curtailing his loan spell and taking him back to Villa Park.
"It'll be hurting him not being in the team he loves," said Watson. "But the same sort of thing happened to me at Newcastle.
"You can get into too much of a routine, doing the same things day in, day out it can become too easy.
"It's undoubtedly helped him going out on loan as he needed to play football again regularly but maybe he has to look about moving on long term. If he does have to find another club, he can go on for another five or six years yet.
"That's the thing about Henders. He might have had a few bad headlines about what he's got up to off the pitch, but he's incredibly fit. He's still only 29 and there's no reason why, even playing in a position like his, he can't keep going until he's 34 or 35."