It is 52 days since Birmingham City began preparations for their Coca-Cola Championship match at home to Leeds United and, tonight, they will finally fulfil the fixture after enduring one of the craziest periods in their history.
The match, originally scheduled for January 13, was postponed because Birmingham's playing surface, relaid after the FA Cup tie against Newcastle United on January 6, was deemed unsuitable.
Blues have not yet discovered the extent of whatever punishment, if any, is coming their way. But they laid a third pitch later that month and are likely to rip it up again in the summer.
The postponement cost Birmingham much of their momentum at a time when they were leading the Coca-Cola Championship table. Since then, results have been erratic, although they have dropped fewer points than any other team in the division.
Birmingham's capricious nature has been emphasised by their results over the past seven weeks.
They won 5-1 away to Newcastle in an FA Cup third-round replay and also won difficult matches against Stoke City and Crystal Palace. But they have lost to Southend and Hull while they were largely outplayed when they drew 1-1 at home to Sunderland.
Off the pitch, Blues threatened to self-destruct when David Sullivan, the club's co-owner, criticised those supporters who opted to stay at home rather than attend the match at home to Stoke.
But at least Birmingham remain in good shape and among the favourites for automatic promotion.
Leeds, who defeated Birmingham 3-2 when the teams met at Elland Road last September, have slipped to the bottom of the table and could spent next season playing league matches against the likes of Lincoln City and Wycombe Wanderers.
In some respects, Birmingham are fighting two battles: one to win promotion, the other to overcome the cynicism that has started to circulate St Andrew's.
The defeat away to Hull last Saturday did nothing to endear the players to those supporters who claim that the style of play and choice of players is not conducive to a successful promotion bid.
Nevertheless, in the previous home match, when Birmingham scraped a draw against Sunderland in what was one of the best matches seen at the stadium in a generation, there was harmony and enthusiasm.
Rowan Vine, the Birmingham striker, was sitting on the substitutes' bench that night and he could feel an atmosphere that did much to ensure a draw at a time when defeat seemed likely.
Vine said: "I do not know if it was the rallying cry from people at the club or whatever but it seemed to do the trick and the fans were brilliant against Sunderland.
"We were on the bench and said the atmosphere from the start was unbelievable so hopefully they can keep doing that and we will start beating teams at home. The players can feel it. I know all players say it but it is a massive boost to have your fans behind you singing and chanting for the whole 90 minutes.
"If they are not and they get a bit agitated, the players definitely feel the pressure. It is one of those things. I do not know if the fans realise how much they are worth but for me it is a massive element."
Steve Bruce, the Birmingham manager, is hoping that the defeat to Hull is the "kick up the backside" that his team require as they bid to reclaim their place at the top of the table.
Birmingham have fallen out of the top two but have the chance to return if, as expected, they defeat Leeds tonight.
"We have responded in the past and sometimes you need a kick up the backside like we have just had," Bruce said. "We need to show our mettle. But I’m convinced we will be better on Tuesday night and bounce back."
Fabrice Muamba, the Birmingham midfield player who is on loan from Arsenal, has been named in the England Under-19 squad to face Turkey in a friendly international on March 21.