With West Bromwich Albion probably needing a victory in their penultimate match of the season at Old Trafford today to keep alive their hopes of staying in the Premiership, pundits and bookies alike have already dismissed the Baggies? chances.
If Albion fail to get three points against Manchester United and there is a winner in the match between Crystal Palace, in 18th place, and Southampton, in 17th, at Sel-hurst Park, Bryan Robson?s side will be relegated.
Robson?s team kick-off at 5.15pm, after the other games have finished, so they will know exactly what is required to ensure their ?Great Escape? is still alive next Sunday at The Hawthorns against Portsmouth.
Given Manchester United are unbeaten at home this season in the league, it is a daunting task but Robson and his men have been upbeat this week with the media.
And Robson knows from his distinguished playing career at Manchester United, which spanned 12 years, that teams can pull off shock results at United?s expense.
Robson was captain of both United and England in 1984 when the then FA Cup hold-ers were dumped out of the competition by Division Three side Bournemouth in the third round.
United fielded a strong side but still ended up losing 2-0. The upset was a major embarrassment to Robson at the time but nowadays he uses it as inspiration.
Robson said: ?We went down when we had Frank Stapleton, Ray Wilkins - who were both top players - and I was captain of England.
?It wasn?t funny then but those results are always possible so we have to give it our best shot.?
Albion?s gameplan today is to keep the score goalless for as long as possible before sneaking a winner late on if United push forward reck-lessly or if the home crowd get on their team?s back.
Robson is also hoping Unit-ed?s players might ease off as they have little left to play for in the Premiership and won?t want to injure themselves ahead of the FA Cup on May 21 against Arsenal.
He added: ?If the Manchester United players go into the match thinking their season is more or less finished other than the cup final then that gives us a chance.?
Albion have not won in five games but Robson believes his side have been performing well.
They matched Arsenal for the first hour of Monday night?s match before succumbing to a 2-0 defeat and Robson thinks his side are due a bit of luck in front of goal.
He said: ?I think the lads have proved since the turn of the year they can definitely compete in this division.
?Whether it is too late in the day for them to stay there, only the next two games will show. I thought the players did well against Arsenal but just didn?t get any breaks.
?We didn?t create much but we didn?t give much away against one of the top teams in Europe either.
?It took an absolutely class goal from Robin Van Persie to give Arsenal a grip on the game.
?The fans applauded us after the game though because they saw the commitment and the endeavour the players put in.
?We just have to give it everything we have got in the Manchester United game as well and hopefully we?ll get the breaks so we can give our fans a great day against Portsmouth.?
Robson is right to feel short-changed from Albion?s last few matches - particularly the 4-0 thrashing at Middlesbrough where the visitors dominated the first 30 minutes of the game and should have scored at least twice.
However, the Albion boss knows his side are not second from bottom without good reason.
And Robson concedes that if his team are indeed relegated tonight then the
visitors can have few complaints when assessing the season as a whole.
He said: ?We have been a bit unfortunate of late but if you don?t take your chances then you get what you deserve.
?If we go down it is not because a result went against us at Manchester United - it is what you do over the course of a season which makes or breaks your fortunes.?
Kieran Richardson, on loan from United, is ineligible today while Richard Chaplow and Andy
Johnson are out.
F e l l o w midfielder R o n n i e Wallwork, who used to play for United, is also doubtful after missing training on Thursday with sickness.
Sir Alex Ferguson?s team are almost at full strength as Ruud van Nistelrooy and Louis Saha return, but it is the presence of Wayne Rooney and Christian Ronaldo that Robson is particularly fearful of.
?I think Rooney and Ronaldo are going to be top drawer players for the next ten years,? added Robson.
?They have the ability, the only thing they need - which people like Roy Keane and Sir Alex will give them - is the mentality that you have got to have to keep winning.?