Tony Pulis is confident Stoke will really start to blossom if they survive their third season in the Premier League.
Despite last night's 2-1 defeat at Manchester United, the Potteries outfit remain in the top half of the table and well-placed to avoid the annual scrap to avoid dropping back into the Championship.
Although their style of play may not please the purists, Stoke's battling qualities have made their transition from the Championship far less arduous than most encounter.
However, just because they have avoided trouble twice, does not mean Pulis is taking anything for granted. He actually feels this term is the most important of all.
"We have this three-year plan,'' he said. "We need three years in the Premier League to get a real foothold and enable the club to push on.
"The first year everybody expects you to get relegated, so there is no pressure. Then you have this second-season syndrome. But the third is perhaps more difficult because everyone thinks you are established. It is absolutely vital for this club.''
Unlike many manager-owner relationships, Pulis is completely satisfied with the manner in which Stoke is run. Now in his second spell as boss, Pulis has an excellent relationship with chairman Peter Coates, and feels vast progress has already been made in the club's development.
"We have moved forward gradually since we got promoted,'' said Pulis. "The club is run very well financially, so it has been done in the right and proper manner.
"The training ground is smashing, which is something we never had before and we also have one or two decent players. We are not a club that is going to waste money or go millions of pounds into debt.
"We will move forward within a framework and structure. It is the owners' money and they want to run the club profitably if they can. They have done that fantastically during the five-and-a-half years I have been here.''