In the season’s early exchanges, Stoke City looked like one of, if not, the most likely sides to compete for automatic promotion with Fulham, Bournemouth and West Bromwich Albion.
A lot has changed since then and patience is running thin with Michael O’Neill in the dugout at the bet365 Stadium.
The Potters have a very talented squad and have shown that they can mix it with the best in the league at times this season, but consistency has been a struggle and they look likely to not even finish in the top half.
Jacob Brown has been one bright light of a frustrating campaign and he put into words his approach to the club’s poor form when he spoke to StokeonTrentLive.
He said: “It sounds cliché but you do have to keep going and move on to the next game.
“But we keep saying that something has to change.
“It’s not through lack of trying.
“We’re working hard but it’s just not going for us at the minute.
“We all have to work together and get through this difficult situation.
“You can’t blame the fans for being frustrated.
“With the positions we’ve been in throughout the season, to come away from these games not winning is disappointing for us and probably even more so for them because they can’t affect it, they’re just watching.
“There are plenty more games left in the season.
“We need to make sure we work hard to give ourselves something to take into the next one.”
Brown has profited from some excellent performances around him from the likes of Nick Powell and Mario Vrancic, but has not been able to find the net enough to drag Stoke towards the play-off conversation.
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An injury crisis at a pivotal time, the busy festive period, has really hurt Stoke this season and exposed the fragility of their confidence.
Looking at every team in the division’s ceiling and highest performance level, the Potters would be in and around the top six and on paper they boast one of the strongest starting XIs in the division.
There are some similarities to be drawn with Blackburn Rovers last season under Tony Mowbray, Rovers finished 15th, were never in a relegation battle and it was clear that they were capable of a lot better.
They stuck with Mowbray, as Stoke might with O’Neill, and have seen a stark improvement in results this season, possibly the Potters will follow suit next term.