Nigel Clough believes Huddersfield Town's remarkable promotion to the Premier League last season has made the Championship an even tougher division this time around for Burton Albion and their rivals.
The Terriers upset all the odds and pre-season predictions to secure their passage to England's top flight through the play-offs, thanks to a penalty-shootout victory over Reading in the Wembley showpiece.
Twelve months previously, they had finished with a tally of 51 points to their name - one fewer than Burton Albion earned last season.
In Clough's eyes, Huddersfield's success has sparked dreams of the Premier League among many of Albion's second-tier rivals this term.
Burton have witnessed first-hand the depth of quality the division has to offer, having suffered defeat at the hands of four of the current top seven so far, including back-to-back 4-0 losses against Aston Villa and Wolverhampton Wanderers last week.
"If I asked you right now who is going to win the league and who is going to be the top two from so far, could you?" said Clough.
"There's the top six, plus the ones outside.
"You don't rule out Derby County. They're in the bottom half, and you wouldn't rule Derby out for automatic promotion.
"Already there's 15 or 16 teams chasing three places.
"I blame Huddersfield!
"Huddersfield's achievement is what has led to a lot more teams, like Huddersfield, saying, 'well if they can do it, we can do it'.
"Blackpool did it 10 or so years ago and everybody said, 'why can't we do a Blackpool?'
"It happens once every 10 years or something.
"But all the clubs of Huddersfield's sort of size are sitting there, they've invested heavily and thought, 'if they can do it, we've got a chance'.
Villa and Wolves are certainly in that bracket of teams who will be vying for a Premier League return come May.
Both showed their quality at the Pirelli Stadium last week - and Clough believes the pair are among those in with a shout of a top-two finish.
"Somebody said after the game that we've just seen two promotion contenders," he added.
"I think they were right, we did.
"Not just promotion, automatic promotion contenders.
"But we try to detatch ourselves from that and say what we can do better, as good as they are, what can we do better?"