Since their return to Serie A in the summer, Giovanni Stroppa's Crotone team have struggled to compete in the top flight and will start 2021 in the drop zone, whatever the result at Stadio Ezio Scida.
A weekend defeat at the hands of resurgent Juventus would hardly have come as a surprise to many Parma fans, though the nature of their 4-0 capitulation to the Bianconeri provided cause for concern.
Before succumbing to a Cristiano Ronaldo double, Alvaro Morata's strike and a goal from former Gialloblu darling Dejan Kulusevski at the Tardini, Parma had recently become a more resilient proposition, having previously remained undefeated for four games in a row - quite a feat for Fabio Liverani's inconsistent side.
However, averaging less than a goal per game during this particularly high-scoring season has put pressure on every other department of the team.
Without means of finishing opponents off due to their goal-shy strikeforce, Parma have become draw specialists - with six from their first 13 games. Three of those have come in the Crociati's last four matches, to leave Fabio Liverani's side on 12 points - perilously close to the bottom three.
While draws against Spezia and Benevento were effectively points lost, ties with the Milan clubs were rightly considered as excellent results. The Ducali held both Inter and AC Milan to 2-2 draws - twice just moments away from victory - but simply could not compete with Juve.
Former Palermo coach Liverani cited both physical and psychological fatigue after Saturday's defeat, and facing the champions in their third game of the week was particularly ill-timed.
Labelling Tuesday's contest in Calabria as "a fundamental match", Liverani must now get his team back on track with a positive result to end the year.
Crotone came into their weekend appointment with mid-table Sampdoria in their best form of a difficult 2020-21 campaign. Having finally brushed their fruitless toils aside to claim four points from their previous two fixtures - thereby trebling their season's total in a matter of days - hopes were high of at least a share of the spoils in Genoa.
However, the Pitagorici have now lost nine of their opening 13 league games of the season to sit bottom of the table with just six points, after they saw their positive streak come to an end at Marassi.
Giovanni Stroppa's team soon found themselves two goals down and though Nigeria international Simy converted a penalty earned by a searing surge into the box from wing-back Arkadiusz Reca, veteran striker Fabio Quagliarella sealed a 3-1 Samp win in the 65th minute.
Though Polish wideman Reca - on loan from Atalanta - won the penalty with some eye-catchingly direct running, his manager Stroppa was far from impressed with the tall left-footer's overall contribution, later criticising his defensive positional play as part of a 3-5-2.
Stroppa went further, citing a lack of determination and focus throughout his side, who have now conceded 28 goals in Serie A - only hapless Torino have let in more.
Tallying just four shots on target across their two most recent fixtures, Crotone - much like Tuesday's visitors Parma, who they meet for the first time ever in the top flight - present only a moderate threat in front of goal. Therefore, it is likely to be a case of whichever side grinds out a much-needed result most doggedly that will conclude the year on a positive note.
With fixtures against Inter, Roma and Verona to start 2021, it is clear that Crotone must target all three points against the Gialloblu to stay in touch with their fellow survival candidates.
Crotone Serie A form: LLLWDL
Parma Serie A form: LWDDDL
Parma form (all competitions): WWDDDL
Parma manager Fabio Liverani has doubts over Giuseppe Pezzella's involvement on Tuesday, with the full-back having also missed the mauling by Juventus.
Under-pressure Liverani is likely to rotate his XI after a fatigued display at the weekend, with misfiring striker Roberto Inglese and inconsistent Yann Karamoh ready to start in place of Andreas Cornelius and young Swiss midfielder Simon Sohm in a more attacking 4-3-3.
Juan Brunetta and Belgian right-back Maxime Busi could also be called up from the bench, while Alberto Grassi, Vincent Laurini, Valentin Mihaila and Juventus loanee Hans Nicolussi Caviglia are all ruled out.
Home boss Giovanni Stroppa could again be without key midfielders Luca Cigarini and Ahmad Benali for the Squali's fourth fixture in 10 days. Such a relentless schedule probably necessitates that Stroppa will rotate his squad, with experienced striker Emmanuel Riviere potentially joining Simy up front.
Crotone possible starting lineup:
Cordaz; Magallan, Cuomo, Luperto; Pereira, Molina, Petriccione, Zanellato, Reca; Simy, Riviere
Parma possible starting lineup:
Sepe; Busi, Osorio, Alves, Gagliolo; Kucka, Hernani, Kurtic; Karamoh, Inglese, Gervinho
We say: Crotone 0-1 Parma
Neither of these struggling sides has sustained a significant goal threat throughout the campaign so far, resulting in just three league wins between them.
On Tuesday, only Parma's greater creative resources should separate them from a Crotone team that already looks doomed to fail.