When your team has enjoyed as many managers as league wins in a season, you know it is going to take an almighty turnaround to change the tide. And at West Bromwich Albion this January Alan Pardew has a job that could be well beyond his abilities as a manager.
The former West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Newcastle United boss is winless in his eight games in charge and though that run has included matches against four of last season's top seven it will be the defeats to Swansea City, Stoke City and the Hammers which will haunt Pardew.
Twice a runner-up in the FA Cup as a manager, Pardew has already identified the January window as a key period during the Baggies' season but Guochuan Lai will only offer him partial backing, with the only money available coming from outgoings.
With a chequered transfer record Pardew is by no means certain to drag West Brom away from danger and needs a month of inspiration to ensure their eight-year stay in the Premier League is not prematurely cut short.
What they need
Only Brighton and Hove Albion have conceded more goals than Albion in the bottom 13 in the Premier League and having produced three shut-outs in Pardew's spell in charge – including against the league's second-highest scorers Liverpool – the problems are not defensive but rather at the other end.
Only two players have mustered more than three league goals this season. Salomon Rondon and Jay Rodriguez have been all-but unbroken as a partnership this term but six goals between them is laughable even for a side in West Brom's situation.
In addition to some additional firepower, Pardew would be well-served supplementing his team with some dynamism and creativity. The squad is full of aging solid pros who protect the back-four well but are hardly likely to grab games by the horns and help drag the club away from danger.
Who could join
Danny Ings will leave Liverpool in January and West Brom may feel confident of holding off interest from Newcastle and West Ham if they can offer him regular first team football. Relegation rivals Stoke City are also in the running, the first of many battles they must win with the Potters.
Glen Johnson could seek refuge at The Hawthorns having not played for Mark Hughes' men since October, while Manchester United outcast Sam Johnstone has been linked with a move despite his loan club Aston Villa being unwilling to lose him.
If Jonny Evans does indeed leave then a replacement centre-back will become top of Pardew's priorities, with Wolverhampton Wanderers' Conor Coady and Burnley's Ben Mee among the targets but convincing either player a relegation scrap is preferable to a promotion or European tilt might be a tough ask.
Who could leave
Northern Ireland defender Evans' refusal to sign a new contract with West Brom means his days in the Black Country are numbered. The task for the club now will be recouping as much money as they can for the player, who is aged 29 and has just 18 months left on his contract.
Fortunately for West Brom some of the biggest hitters in town are on his case. Manchester City and Arsenal both baulked at Evans' £30m valuation in the summer, but with United now among the interested parties a fee of around £20m could be enough to secure his services, according to The Sun.
No other members of West Brom's senior squad are likely to depart, with good reason.
What the manager has said
"I don't know about a re-think, but seven wins in a calendar year says it all, really," stated Pardew after the 1-1 draw with Arsenal. "We've got to move something around if we can. It's not always possible, as you know, money's tight.
"I've brought players in, not big signings, before but they can change the dynamic of the dressing room. I think there's a good dynamic in there, by the way, I'm not saying it's a negative one. But just a change sometimes is good."