Wigan Athletic were tipped by many to make an immediate return to the Premier League in 2013/14, with a tumble into the Championship expected to last just the one season.
The Latics are still in the second tier, though, having seen a surge up the standings following Uwe Rosler’s arrival as manager count for nothing as they tripped at the play-off hurdle.
Not to worry, surely 2014/15 will bring better luck for a squad working under a highly-rated coach and still boasting a number of former top flight performers and FA Cup winners...won’t it?
Well, at present, Wigan sit 19th, have won only three of their 14 games so far and are considerably closer to the basement battle than they are the scrap for a top-six finish.
There is no getting away from it, they have flattered to deceive – much as they did during the opening exchanges of the last campaign.
Those at the DW Stadium are prepared to admit as much, with winger James McClean pulling no punches as he reflects on a frustrating start he hopes Wigan have finally put behind them following a morale-boosting 2-1 victory at table-topping Derby County on Saturday.
He said in the Evening Post: “I don’t think we’re in a false position in the table. We’re in the position we are in the league because we haven’t been good enough this season."
“We showed on Saturday that we can be a match for any side if we play to our capabilities."
“Derby are top of the table but we’ve got just as much quality and Premier League experience, if not more so. There’s no reason why we can’t put together a run now and move up the league."
“We need to build on the Derby game and take heart from it, and not undo all the good work when Fulham come here on Saturday. They’re on a bit of a revival, but we’re at home and it’s up to us to try to break them down.”
McClean netted twice at the iPro Stadium to help Wigan come from behind to snatch all three points, with the Republic of Ireland international stepping off the bench to make a telling contribution.
He now needs to start producing the goods on a more consistent basis, with there few players within Rosler’s ranks that can honestly look themselves in the mirror and say they have played to their full potential this season.
The Derby result could light a fire under them and spark another push for promotion, with it about time that Wigan started to show that they have the stomach for a fight and are prepared to do all they can to ensure that the heady days of top-flight life under Roberto Martinez are not allowed to become a distant memory.