Birmingham City have flown very much under the radar this season.
The summer turmoil following relegation meant that Chris Hughton had a difficult job on his hands.
But Hughton has managed to turn the vessel round and steer it in the right direction, despite so many understandable misgivings and fears.
Blues exploits in the Europa League have been an added bonus, but have nonetheless contributed to the upturn in fortunes in the Championship too.
Blues complete a three-game stretch in the league on Saturday when Brighton & Hove Albion visit St Andrew’s.
Then it’s Europe once more and the visit of Club Brugge to the Group H leaders.
Hughton said there has been no magic formula, just a commitment to doing the right things, preparing the right way and welcome continuity.
Also, it’s often overlooked that Blues have actually got some very good players and needed time to gel after the overhaul since May.
“If I look what we’ve been able to do with regards to clean sheets, there is more of a solidness about the team and more of a unity,” said Hughton.
“And I think that comes with playing so many games because it gives the players an opportunity to gel together.
“One area that has helped us is maybe a bit more continuity,
“In some areas we don’t have as many choices, but we’ve shown in recent weeks we’ve had a little bit more consistency in the team that we’ve put out.
“There have been some good performances. And at the moment we don’t have too many injuries.
“ Jordon Mutch is the only sort of longer term injury who is out at the moment.
“I suppose at some stage when he is back it gives us another option in midfield.
“There is a decent balance to the squad at the moment, particularly when Pablo becomes available again.”
Pablo has missed Blues last two matches due to the after effects of concussion. Pablo was knocked out in the victory at Brugge.
Mutch has stepped up his rehabilitation after breaking his ankle in August. He is back running again.
Hughton reported: “I would say he is probably about four weeks away.”
Because of their schedule, there has been little time for Blues to sit back and think they have cracked it.
That’s good for guarding against complacency, said Hughton.
“You can only do your best. The fact that the games come thick and fast, that helps.
“You can’t dwell on the previous games. In most of the meetings we have with the players it’s not about the past, it’s about the next game.
“When you play a game on a weekend and the following weekend, what you would do on a lot of occasions is close down [analyse] a game.
“So you might have a meeting on the Monday with reflections on the game from the Saturday, showing the things we did well, badly, the goals we conceded . . .
“With the nature of what we are, you’re not able to close down any games. It’s just straight into the preparation for the next one.”
“All you can do is prepare the players the best you can and you hope when that whistle goes they perform as well as they have been performing,” Hughton added.