Charlton Athletic's fall to Coca-Cola League 1 level for the first time in 28 years looks inevitable as they sit rock bottom of the Championship table, 13 points adrift of the safety positions with just eight games remaining.
Even if the Addicks won all eight of those fixtures, and that seems highly unlikely as they have collected only six victories from their 38 outings to date, they would quite possibly get relegated with a total of 52 points - as Leicester City did last season.
So manager Phil Parkinson is being realistic, not defeatist, when he says about his team's hopes of avoiding the drop: "Everybody will look at the situation and say it needs an exceptional run to get us out of it.
"I wouldn't say it's the lowest the club's ever been, it has been lower, but at this particular moment it's as low as it could be. Whether we go down a division or stay in this division, though, the club will come back bigger and stronger.
"Everyone knows the reputation that Charlton's got around the country as a good club, with so many good people and good players too. So although our chances are slim, and the facts are there to see, I know we'll come back."
Parkinson, who took over the managerial reins after previous boss Alan Pardew departed The Valley in November, has been unable to arrest the slide that began with the Addicks' 2007 relegation from the Premiership.
After spending seven successive seasons in the top flight they finished 11th in the Championship last term, but though they started the current campaign well - they were just one point below the Play-Off places after the first six weeks - they fell away badly.
Now relegation is staring them squarely in the face and Parkinson, whose contract as manager runs out at the end of the season, must send his men out to muster as many points as they can before the arrival of the seemingly inevitable.
"I don't want to talk about my own position at this particular moment," says Parkinson. "Between now and the end of the season I'll just be concentrating on doing the job to the best of my ability with the resources that I've got.
"We've missed a lot of key players this season, we've lacked cover in defence and up front as well, hence we find ourselves in the position we're in. But we've got some good players, and it's my job to make sure they roll up their sleeves and compete."
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