Paul Lambert has warned Stoke are in for a rude awakening if Aston Villa draw them into the relegation scrap on Saturday.
Villa go into the weekend in the Premier League drop zone, but victory at the Britannia would take them to within a point of a Stoke side with just one win since Boxing Day.
And Lambert reckons a season-long battle at the bottom will stand Villa in better stead for the run-in than any rivals who are sucked in from mid-table.
Stoke, Norwich, Newcastle and Sunderland are all candidates for that category, and Lambert told the Birmingham Mail: "For much of the season we've been accustomed to this situation.
"We've been living through it and we've dealt with the pressures it brings.
"Suddenly there are other teams that have been pulled into it, teams who haven't had to get their heads around it and we'll see now what happens.
"The important thing for us is that we don't get caught up in it all, that we continue to focus on our games, on our jobs and that's what we'll do.
"We've been playing well of late and if you can get on a little run we know how important it could be.
"The most important thing, however, is we are going into games with genuine vibrancy and a collective mindset to go and win."