It is, perhaps, one of the great truisms of life that we lower our expectations over the course of time.

Just as every pub footballer wanted to be George Best, every 'supporting artist' in The Bill wanted to play Hamlet.

Rarely, however, can a team's hopes have dropped as quickly as Warwickshire's this season. For they started April with the intention of competing for every trophy is hoping to suffer only one relegation.

To be in the top two was the espoused aim of Mark Greatbatch, the director of coaching, but we thought he meant teams; not divisions.

Though Warwickshire's survival in the Division One largely depends on the outcome of their penultimate match against fellow relegation rivals Surrey starting today at Edgbaston, this season can only be judged a failure whatever happens in the next two weeks.

Some at the club will maintain that two early Championship wins and a place in the Friends Provident Trophy semi-final suggests progress. Maybe. But if Mark Lewis-Francis tried to justify his failure at the World Championships by saying he was leading after the first 20 metres of the heats, we'd laugh at him.

They will also claim that the 'absence' of Kumar Sangakkara and Dale Steyn - perfectly predictable though it was - hit them hard. It is therefore worth noting that Steyn's final three Championship matches realised only five wickets for 264 runs.

At least the club may be encouraged by the news that Stephen Fleming - one of their targets for 2008 - has confirmed that he will not be returning to Nottinghamshire next year. Whether Warwickshire's priority should be a batsman, fast bowler or world-class spinner is open for debate. In truth they need all three. Sadly there aren't many Gary Sobers around.

It's hard to be wildly optimistic ahead of this match. Surrey are certainly the team in the better form - Warwickshire have not won in the Championship for four months.

After play there is a members' forum at which the club's hierarchy are in for a rough ride.

There is a school of thought that thinks Greatbatch will resign. While that would certainly ease the predicament of the club's chief executive, Colin Povey, it is not Greatbatch's style.

He is a proud man, certainly not a quitter, and will continue to work as hard as ever. Sadly, however, there are no marks for effort in professional sport.

Povey's situation is difficult. By showing loyalty to the coach he has become entwined in the team's problems and is increasingly unpopular with supporters. It doesn't pay to swim near a sinking ship.

Yet Povey has admirable qualities. He is honest, intelligent and ambitious and, given time, will deliver the ground development that the club has needed for decades. It would be a shame if Greatbatch's demise dragged him down.

There is help at hand. Povey has met with Dougie Brown and Dermot Reeve in recent days and the pair have offered to help in any way the club sees fit. Neither man will be available indefinitely, however. Both have received approaches from other counties in recent days.

Would they be the answer? Who knows. Conventional wisdom would suggest that one should never go back to the scene of former glories. Certainly it brought questionable results for Bob Woolmer.

But Brown and Reeve would, at least, bring back some smiles to the club. It would be a significant step in the right direction.