Albion are going back to the Championship.

Fear not, the association refers to what awaits them between now and the New Year rather than a gloomy prediction of where they will be in May.

The Premier League is about to resemble the grind faced by the Seagulls in the second tier, at least in terms of workload.

The first 11 fixtures, interrupted by two international breaks, were played over 12 weeks.

The next 11 games, launched after the third international break by Stoke's visit to the Amex next Monday, are crammed into six weeks.

Albion, sitting in eighth and unbeaten in four matches, have done incredibly well so far.

Chris Hughton (below centre) is, however, correct to caution they have achieved nothing yet.

The Argus: Because competing with the elite is about to get even tougher.

Altogether harder than the similar schedule they confronted in the Championship.

The physical demands will be greater. Albion will have less possession than last season, which is energy sapping. The mental demands will also multiply.

Concentration levels have to be maintained, since mistakes are punished more frequently.

Every game is big for Albion, as newcomers, to the Premier League but there are some particularly big ones looming in the hectic spell through to January 1.

Manchester United at Old Trafford is followed three days later by the long-awaited clash against arch rivals Crystal Palace. Just four days after that they host Liverpool.

They play Spurs on a Wednesday night at Wembley, which divides a trip to high-octane Huddersfield and a home game against Sean Dyche's robust Burnley.

On Boxing Day the Seagulls go to Chelsea, then to Newcastle four days later, before hosting Bournemouth with only 43-and-a-half-hours to recover.

Palace and Spurs especially will be adrenaline-fuelled, emotion-charged occasions which will take a lot out of the players.

Hughton has named the same starting eleven for the last three games.

That will probably stretch to a fourth against Stoke - but it cannot last.

The strength in depth of Hughton's Premier League squad is about to be tested in a way it has not been to date.

The increased risks of injury, fatigue and suspension will necessitate rotation.

The overseas signings have yet to encounter the gruelling challenge of three matches in quick succession over a sustained period.

The Argus: Even if they stay fit, the likes of Pascal Gross (above left) and Davy Propper will need a rest at some point.

The cut-off point for a ban for five bookings is New Year's Eve.

Shane Duffy has picked up three yellow cards, Lewis Dunk a couple. The chances of their influential defensive partnership being disrupted before the year is out are substantial.

It is over the course of the next few weeks that Markus Suttner, Ezequiel Schelotto and Liam Rosenior, Connor Goldson and Uwe Huenemeier, Beram Kayal, Tomer Hemed and Sam Baldock will have key roles to play.

Hughton will need them to shrug off the shortage of minutes and hit the ground running.

Three of the next four games are at home, where, in spite of the splendid achievement of clean sheet away wins back-to-back at West Ham and Swansea, Albion will need to accumulate the bulk of their points.

Hughton and the recruitment team will also have a clearer picture by the end of the next batch of 11 games of the requirements during the January transfer window.

And we will all have a better idea after playing everyone else once, Watford, Newcastle and Bournemouth twice, whether the second half of the season is destined to be a rubber-stamping exercise for survival or a fight to stay out of the bottom three.