Derby County were hit with the expected blow this week that they were being deducted a further nine points by the EFL for breaching Profit & Sustainability rules.
A long-running saga with the Football League has seemingly reached a conclusion, although nothing will be fully sorted until a takeover is confirmed and ratified by the governing bodies to bring the Rams out of administration.
The latest setback for County means that they sit on -3 points in the Championship, with the nine-point deduction added onto the 12 taken off the club for entering administration in September, meaning that Derby’s relegation to League One next season looks all-but secured.
Quiz: What club do these 22 rarely-seen ex-Derby County players play at now?
It would take a mammoth set of results to turn their season around and they would not be able to lose many games from here on in, but anything is possible still.
One person who isn’t throwing in the white towel just yet is Derby’s manager Wayne Rooney, who believes that despite the tough ask his side can still make a case for surviving in the league beyond this season.
“It’s possible. It’ll be difficult and a huge challenge,” Rooney said.
“We know in football anything can happen and it’ll take us going on a good run and others dropping points.
“The players have been through a lot and I couldn’t be prouder of how they’ve carried themselves.”
No-one obviously expects Rooney to come out and say his side has no chance of survival as that would be a very defeatist attitude.
It isn’t over for the club until it’s over and they’ve exceeded all expectations so far this season with their performances, and without the points deductions they’d be sitting outside of the relegation zone.
Considering the thread-bare nature of the squad that would have been good but unfortunately the EFL have taken their course of action and now Rooney has to rally the troops.
That starts with a clash against Bournemouth on Sunday and right now it can’t get any tougher for a Championship club than the Cherries and then it’s a visit to Fulham in midweek so it could be a rough week to add to the woes for Rams fans.