Former player Ben Thornley believes Huddersfield Town have what it takes to become an established top-flight side – regardless of the outcome this campaign.
The Terriers are currently in the middle of a survival battle in their inaugural Premier League season, just one place and one point above the relegation zone.
But Thornley, who made over 100 appearances for the club during a three-year period between 1998 and 2001, believes whatever happens in May the club are well-equipped for long-term success.
“With all the Premier League money, acclimatising yourself to the top-flight and finding out what it’s all about and then going down may not necessarily be a bad thing,” Ben Thornley said.
“If Town do go down this season they are more than equipped to get straight back up.
“You’ve seen so many teams do it – Southampton, Burnley, they’ve all managed to stabilise themselves.
“And just because you don’t make it first time, it doesn’t mean it won’t work in the future.
“They are all considered established Premier League sides and less associated with the Championship now.
“I generally feel that in the next 5 to 10 years, Huddersfield Town will be part of that set.”
Thornley spent an eventful time in West Yorkshire, the side pushing for promotion under Steve Bruce in his first season before suffering relegation to Division Two in his final year at the club.
So what advice would the 42-year-old give to today’s crop to avoid a similar fate to the one suffered by the Class of 2001.
“A lot of the players have been good enough to get the side into the Premier League in the first place.
“And with the sprinkling of what they have brought in then they have a good chance.
“The home form has been brilliant and their next six or seven games are against teams in the bottom half of the table.
“They’ve already proven they can compete against sides in the higher echelons of the Premier League – now they need to do it against sides in and around them.”
That run of games starts with a clash away to bottom-of-the-table West Bromwich Albion on Saturday – an encounter Thornley has labelled a ‘six pointer’.
He said: “West Brom are not in a false position, they are down there because they are not good enough.
“These are the games you can start to talk about six-pointers and close to becoming a must-win or certainly a draw.
“You’re looking at maybe another 12 points (three wins and a couple of draws) for safety.
“It’s so incredibly tight, though, and everyone always seems to be just one defeat away from being back down there – that is how tight it is.”