Caretaker boss Eric Black has backed Aston Villa to recover from relegation and get back into the top flight.
Results over the weekend still left them with a mathematical chance of overhauling Norwich and climbing to 17th, but in reality everyone connected to the club is preparing for life in the Championship.
Villa’s 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth on Saturday – an eighth straight loss – left them 15 points behind the Canaries with 15 points left to play for, plus an inferior goal difference to Alex Neil’s team.
It promises to be a pivotal summer at Villa, with the next managerial appointment surely one of the most important the club will ever make in their history, and Black believes things will turn around.
He said: “I am sure this club will one day come back.
“It’s going to be a mighty challenge, an enormous challenge. I went down once with Birmingham and we came straight back up.
“But, my goodness, it’s a hard challenge. It’s a huge turnaround at a club and it’s a different division. It’s a sombre mood, as you would imagine.
“It’s been a difficult season for everyone concerned at the club. We’re not relegated as yet but we’re not far off.”