Until he joined West Bromwich Albion, Steve Watson had never really been involved in a relegation battle.
In 13 seasons of Premiership football spent with Newcastle United, Everton and Aston Villa, the genial Geordie utility player did most of his battling for a shirt at the right end of the table.
He helped both Newcastle and Villa top the table. And, even when Everton finished fourth from bottom two years ago, that was thanks to a disastrous finish of two points from six games, by which time the relegation spots had already been filled.
The idea of going down, Watson admits, "is not something I want on my CV".
Little surprise then, given the financial enormity attached these days to staying in the Premiership, to hear even the much-travelled, vastly experienced Watson refer to Albion's visit to play Birmingham City at St Andrew's tomorrow as "the biggest local derby I've ever been involved with."
"I'm showing my age," said Watson, who turns 32 on April Fool's Day, "when I say I've lost count of the number of derbies I've played in.
"The North-east derbies, the Merseyside derbies, a few for Villa against Coventry and obviously the derbies here, the one we lost to Blues and when we got beat by Villa at The Hawthorns.
"But this is definitely the one with most riding on it."
Watson does not have happy memories of his last derby game.
His 75th-minute equaliser against Villa at the turn of the year looked to have saved a point. But he blotted his copybook just five minutes later when his outstretched arm stopped Gareth Barry's goalbound shot and earned
Milan Baros a late penalty winner.
"I tried to convince myself if I hadn't been there it would have been 1-0 to Villa," he said with a wry smile. "But it didn't work!"
Watson knows there is a lot more at stake tomorrow.
"I know every week we can say it's our biggest game of the season, but this is the game that's next and, with it being a local derby and given the situation both sides are in, that makes it huge.
"We can still both stay up.
Equally, both clubs can get sucked into it, as we've both got a tough run-in.
"But, while we know nothing will be settled this weekend, this will have a big bearing on the rest of the season.
"And, although we'll still be going there to win, make
no mistake about it, we also know we can't really afford to lose." Albion did just that both on their last visit to St Andrew's - the demoralising 4-0 stuffing in December 2004 - and in their last meeting with Steve Bruce's men when they lost 3-2 to Blues at The Hawthorns in August.
Albion are particularly wary of Emile Heskey, who scored three of those goals. But they are worried more by the fact that, in each game, Blues scored three times in the opening half hour.
"That can't happen again," said Watson. "It's vital we keep it tight as long as we can. The game won't be won in the first ten or 15 minutes but there is a situation where someone may lose it in that time.
"As has happened in a few games we can't go gifting goals and giving teams a leg up in this league.
"We have to be patient. It's a 90-minute game and, although it will be high on emotion, we can't allow ourselves to get too caught up in that. We have to be in control of what we do."
Rather comfortingly, Watson points out that is exactly what Albion did amidst the turmoil of Jose Mourinho's playground antics last weekend.
"We played well," he said. "We had more possession than Chelsea, which doesn't happen too often. In the first half especially, we looked as good as we have for a long time and a lot of that got forgotten about because of the other things that went on."