Stoke City had to go against the grain last season by staying up despite being bottom at Christmas.
But this time they are hoping to be a considerably better season at that stage of the campaign as the Championship starts to settle down.
Michael O’Neill has nine league games before December 25, starting with a home double header against Huddersfield Town and Norwich before back-to-back away games against Sheffield Wednesday and Wycombe Wanderers.
It’s at home against Middlesbrough and Cardiff before trips to Derby and Queens Park Rangers and hosting Blackburn at the bet365.
So 27 points up for grabs and we have set up our Championship predictor so you can work out what impact what they take from that pile has on the league table.
It’s a tightly packed top half – and a squeezed bottom half – with just six points separating leaders Reading from 12th placed Blackburn. It’s seven points from Blackburn to the relegation zone.
As you try to look into your crystal ball, the bookies currently have Bournemouth as the favourites to go up – and Wycombe as the runaway favourites to go down.
Latest Championship odds
Promotion: Bournemouth 11/10, Norwich 6/5, Brentford 11/8, Watford 13/8, Stoke 7/2, Swansea 4/1, Middlesbrough 5/1, Millwall 11/2, Blackburn 13/2, Bristol City 7/1, Reading 8/1, Preston 10/1, Cardiff 11/1.
Relegation: Wycombe 1/6, Derby 7/4, Coventry 15/8, Rotherham 9/4, Sheffield Wednesday 9/4, Birmingham 7/4, QPR 5/1, Huddersfield 6/1, Luton Town 13/2, Barnsley 7/1, Nottingham Forest 12/1.