Richard Dunne admits it would be a "disaster" if Aston Villa were relegated, but insists manager Alex McLeish is doing his best to improve results.
Villa have won just once in 13 matches and sit just three points above the drop zone following a 2-1 home defeat by relegation rivals Bolton in midweek.
The wretched run of form has led for calls for McLeish to be replaced, with the former Birmingham boss having been unable to win over supporters since his appointment last summer.
Dunne has been sidelined for over two months with a shoulder injury and he believes such problems have prevented McLeish from picking his strongest team.
"The fans have a bee in their bonnet about the manager but he's doing his best," said Dunne.
"He won't be sitting around feeling sorry for himself. He knows the job in hand and it'll be up to him.
"The manager can only pick who is available and we've probably had about 11 senior players because the injury list has grown and grown. He's not been able to get the players he wants on the field at the one time."
The Republic of Ireland defender is aware of the implications of relegation from the top flight and feels this season needs to serve as a warning for Villa.
He added: "If we go down it will be a disaster for the whole club. But we know the situation we're in and it needs fixing.
"This season has to be a warning to everyone that we need the squad to grow, so that if there are injuries then we have experienced cover.
"It's very difficult in the Premier League because the sides who have been promoted recently are really good with strong squads."