At the start of 2014, Doncaster Rovers will not have thought that they would be all but safe from relegation with seven games left to play, but that is the situation they find themselves in going into Saturday's match against Birmingham City.
Four wins and just one defeat in their last six matches have seen Rovers rise to 18th in the Championship table, now eight points clear of the bottom three and seemingly a couple of victories away from complete safety.
The month of March got off to the worst possible start when they were thrashed 5-0 by Bournemouth, but since then they have only dropped points to high-flying teams such as Nottingham Forest and Burnley.
They will fancy their chances, then, against a Birmingham side not yet safe from the drop themselves, particularly after two morale-boosting wins in Yorkshire derbies in their last three games.
It is Doncaster's form at the Keepmoat Stadium that has dragged them out of the mire, going eight league matches unbeaten in front of their own fans and picking up 18 of the last 24 points available at home. Indeed, they are aiming for a fourth consecutive league victory at home, something that they haven't managed since the end of 2009.
The prospect of relegation looms a lot larger on Birmingham than it does Doncaster, with the Blues hovering just five points clear of the bottom three having played a game more than 22nd-placed Barnsley.
Charlton Athletic, sitting immediately below Birmingham in the table, still have two games in hand over Lee Clark's side as they look to overhaul the two-point gap currently separating them.
An improvement in form is certainly required for the Midlands club if they are to retain their Championship status next season, with just one win in their last seven matches.
They have not beaten a team outside the bottom six all year, but will be buoyed by the knowledge that they are better on their travels than at home this season. The Blues have picked up 26 of their 40 points on the road, giving them the eighth-best away record in the division.
Possible starting lineups
Doncaster: Johnstone; Quinn, Neill, Meite, Husband; Coppinger, Keegan, Wellens, Cotterill; Sharp, Brown
Birmingham: Randolph; Caddis, Packwood, Robinson, Blackett; Spector, Reilly; Burke, Macheda, Ibe; Zigic
Sports Mole says: 2-0