Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish says he is already “planning for the Championship” – and has challenged the players to make sure it is not needed.
The Eagles are currently in 17th place, but out of the Premier League’s relegation zone only on goal difference.
While former England boss Roy Hodgson has overseen an upturn in fortunes since taking over during September – when the south-London club were rock bottom following four straight league defeats under Frank de Boer – there remains work to be done.
Palace, who have lost three of the past five matches, host Manchester United on Monday March 5, then travel to Chelsea before a key clash against fellow relegation battlers Huddersfield.
Parish maintains his role as chairman means he must have a contingency in place should the worst happen come May, but hopes it will never need to be implemented.
“We are in a difficult situation, make no mistake. People ask what I’m planning for, I’m planning for Championship,” Parish said at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club in London on Wednesday.
“At the moment it’s down to the players, but if it does happen I can’t start thinking about it then.”
During a question and answer session, the Palace chairman also tackled the issue of football’s finances, with Premier League broadcasting revenue having hit record levels.
“We waste a lot of money in football. There are debates about how we keep more money in the game, agent fees… I don’t think a slight tightening of purse strings is a bad thing. We’ve all got a bit lazy in the Premier League,” Parish said, as quoted on the Sport Industry official Twitter feed.
“F1 only has two teams competing at the moment, so people are switching off. We can’t let that happen in the Premier League.”
Palace hope to be able to redevelop their Selhurst Park ground with the building of a new main stand which will feature an all-glass front and help raise capacity from 26,000 to more than 34,000.
As well as new community facilities, the pitch is also proposed to be made bigger, which would meet UEFA criteria for hosting tournament matches.
A planning application is set to go before Croydon Council’s Planning Committee on April 19.
Parish, who grew up an Eagles fan and insists being chairman remains a “privilege”, said: “The new stand design has been fantastically received. South London is really finding its identity now.
“Some amazing development is taking place right now, and we hope we can be part of that.”
Parish, quoted in the London Evening Standard, also revealed the club were “looking at a naming-rights opportunity for the stadium.”
“The new stand is the biggest project the club have undertaken since 1964. We are very excited about it and it will make a huge difference to the club,” he added.
“Relegation and promotion are temporary things. I have got to make sure, whether eventuality, we can fulfil the long-term goals of the club.”