Bristol City boss Derek McInnes has focused his players' minds on the challenge of pulling away from their four fellow strugglers at the foot of the Championship over the coming month.
City face Sheffield Wednesday, who are level on points with McInnes' men, on Saturday and play 20th placed Ipswich and rock-bottom Peterborough before the start of 2013, while Barnsley start this busy period just two points ahead.
McInnes has set his sights on starting the new year on top of the pack of the five relegation-threatened sides.
"All we've said to the players is we need to get away from that bottom group," he said.
"We are in a mini league of five at the minute and for me we have to try and win that league and come out of that and be top of that league after Christmas.
"That is our league now and our objective now is to win those games against the teams in and around us.
"That is what we aim to do on Saturday against a team who are in and around us. It is important the players really have something short-term to work towards."