Swansea manager Garry Monk believes the only way is up for Tim Sherwood as the two coaching course-mates prepare to cross tactical swords at Villa Park.
Monk and new Aston Villa boss Sherwood got to know each other on the same Football Association of Wales Pro-Licence coaching course but the practical takes precedence over the theory on Saturday with three Barclays Premier League points at stake.
Sherwood got his break in management at Tottenham first - a position he was unlucky to lose according to Monk - and the former England midfielder has revived Villa's fortunes with three successive wins taking them away from the Premier League danger zone and into the semi-final of the FA Cup.
"He's gone in there and lifted the confidence in the group," Monk said at his pre-match press conference.
"You need results to do that but they've got very good players there who obviously weren't playing to their full potential before Tim took over.
"But he's had an instant impact. He's a very honest guy, black and white, and that comes across in his interviews and the way he approaches the game.
"They're fighting for their lives and we know this game is vitally important to them but it is the same for us.
"We've got our own agenda, we want to achieve our best total of 47 points, and I think you've seen our attitude and focus in our recent games against Tottenham and Liverpool.
"The actual performances deserved more than they got and we need to make sure we replicate that to get the points at Villa."
The pair have both been labelled with the tag of bright, young British managers, even if the 46-year-old Sherwood is actually 10 years older than Monk who celebrated his first anniversary as Swansea boss last month.
But Monk says while certain similarities exist between them they are very much their own men with notable differences.
"When Tim came in at Spurs he was already within the club at that time, albeit within a different coaching role," Monk said.
"I came from a playing background into it and I wouldn't say we were similar managers with the same approach or anything like that.
"But we've got the same desire, commitment and principles and are clear in what we want.
"I'm on the same coaching course as Tim and his views on football are very interesting.
"He's had a fantastic start and I am sure he will take Aston Villa forward after being unlucky at Tottenham.
"He has been given his chance and taken the opportunity really well, he has got them going."
Swansea are seeking to recover from back-to-back league defeats and will come across a former favourite at Villa Park in the shape of Scott Sinclair.
The 25-year-old's career nose-dived after his £6.2million move from Swansea to Manchester City in August 2012, Sinclair starting only two league games at the Etihad Stadium before joining Villa on loan in January.
But Sinclair has thrived under Sherwood with three goals in five games and Monk admits it is satisfying to see his former teammate doing well after such a difficult time in his career.
"Scotty has been searching for regular football and it is good to see him playing," Monk said.
"He did tremendously well for us and we will never forget what he did here.
"It is no surprise to see him playing regular football in the Premier League because he's got the talent to do that."