Birmingham City's FA Cup fifth-round defeat against Sunderland two years ago still rankles with Stephen Clemence.
Blues' 27-year-old midfielder regards it as arguably the biggest disappointment of his career and bristles with indignation when he recalls a missed opportunity.
Steve Bruce's men can throw off the shackles of their Premeirship relegation battle and play with relative abandon on Sunday when they travel to Championship strugglers Stoke City.
There have been some fearsome clashes between these bitter rivals over the years and this weekend promises to be no different.
Clemence has been called back in from the cold for Birmingham's last two games and will be sweating on a starting position as Damien Johnson returns from a three-match suspension.
However, he is desperate to erase the memory of that bleak February evening in 2004 when, as hot favourites to progress to the last eight, they imploded dramatically.
The passage to the final was set up for Birimingham who were on course to reach the FA Cup final and finish in the top six. However, Sunderland scored two extra-time goals to send a dejected Birmingham into freefall and a tenth-place finish.
Clemence, though, was mortified at missing out on a boyhood dream. The affable midfielder still regards the FA Cup as the premier knock-out competition and was aghast at failure to progress to the final.
"It was one of the biggest disappointments of my career," he said. "The draw was already made and we knew we had Sheffield United in the quarter-final.
"We had a great chance to reach the final and it still hurts to talk about it to this day. It was the biggest opportunity I have ever had.
"I played with Spurs in an FA Cup semi-final against Arsenal when we lost 3-1 at Old Trafford but our passge, on paper, was easier.
"Clemence intends to make amends against their old foes from the Potteries this weekend.
Clemence's father, Ray, has an impressive cup pedigree and his offspring regards the competition in high esteem. Not for him the modern-day mantra of the FA Cup being an inconvenience; Clemence regards such talk as heresy.
"I genuinely beleive this is the greatest cup competition in the world," he said. "There wasn't as much football on television when I was younger and the FA Cup was still a real occasion.
"It was always a dream of mine to appear in an FA Cup final and if I could finally achieve that it would mean more to me than anything.
"It will be a very tough game but there will be less pressure on us than in the Premiership.
"All the fixtures there are really high-pressure affairs now, as there is so much riding on it. Obviously we want to stay in the Premiership but the FA Cup is really important to me."
However, the preparation for this cup tie has not been ideal with Nicky Butt's out-burst prior to their 3-0 defeat at West Ham on Monday.
On learning that he had been dropped to make way for Alex Bruce, Butt stormed out of the team hotel and walked into a heavy fine from the manager. However, they have since kissed and made up with Butt issuing a public apology for his indiscretion.
Nevertheless, it all added to the growing unease at St Andrew's with, as Bruce likes to call it, 'the tickly bit' approaching.
Birmingham are six points adrift of the water mark and with fixtures against Sunder-land, Middlesbrough and Albion on the horizon, they will know whether they are swimming or sinking by mid-March.
Clemence says the players and management are acutely aware of the ramifications if they were to lose.
He said: "It was a quiet team bus on the way home from West Ham, as you would expect. We had a meeting at the training ground and thrashed out how we are going to try to correct the problems. The players are fully aware of just how vital the next three league games are."
* Interim manager Terry Westley has confirmed Derby County are interested in signing former Blues and Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke from Australian side Sydney FC.
The 34-year-old Yorke, who also played for Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers, is keen on a return to English football before the World Cup finals where he will captain Trinidad & Tobago.