Martin O'Neill has repeated his warning to Aston Villa supporters to beware another false dawn.
Villa might have won only one of their last four home league games following Saturday's 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough, but they have now lost just once in 14 Premiership matches under O'Neill.
They lie fifth in the table and now have this week's visit of chairman Randy Lerner to look forward to as he flies in from Cleveland to discuss the manager's Christmas shopping list.
But, despite all the encouraging signs, O'Neill still stresses just how important it is to keep a lid on things. "I think the fans are wary," he said. "They're folding their arms and saying 'Let's see'.
"They've seen too many of these false dawns before. Let's just see how we get through the next eight games until the transfer window opens in January and see where we are then."
O'Neill's main worry, apart from a knee injury which goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen suffered on Saturday, is what he refers to as the lack of a "cutting edge".
Milan Baros gives the impression of a man who wants to be on his way in January, Juan Pablo Angel has improved this season only by his own poor standards of the last two campaigns and Chris Sutton, absent on Saturday with a calf injury, is a short-term solution.
Admittedly, Villa do have the exciting Gabriel Agbonlahor, whose pace and skill is already the envy of many admirers, but O'Neill knows he needs a class striker.
"We played some really nice stuff against Middlesbrough and there's a great determination about the team, but we need that cutting edge," he admitted.
"I want to improve the team regardless of the position we're in. If there was a player who we wanted and could afford, if there is an opportunity to do it in January, then we would. Don't kill me if I don't, but we're genuinely going to have a go."
O'Neill will discuss his budget with Lerner this week. Then he will know whether he can go for the likes of Jermain Defoe or Robbie Keane, or whether he will have to settle for a lower-cost option such as Celtic’s Shaun Moloney, whose contract at Parkhead expires in January.
Whichever route he goes down, it is with a potential European place in mind but O'Neill still scoffs at the suggestion that Villa might yet be surprise Champions League contenders.
"I thought it was crazy when I was asked that question two weeks ago," he said. "I've found no reason to change my mind.
"European nights at Celtic are very noisy and it would be lovely to do that here, but you have to earn that right.
"It would be lovely if we had people queuing up to fill this place, not only on the days when Manchester United come to town and, if you'd said, after just two weeks' preparation, we'd be getting to the end of November only having been beaten once in 14 games, I'd naturally have taken it.
"But all we've done here so far is to create a solid foundation to build on and it's still a case of wait and see."
O'Neill's restrained pleasure were echoed by Boro captain George Boateng. The former Villa player said: "It's taken them five years to get back on track and I'm happy about that.
"They've a good manager now and the future looks brighter but don't get carried away. It's a long season. Look at us. We were playing relegation football in February and, three months later, we were in a Uefa Cup final."
Villa will know the full extent of Sorensen's injury this morning when they receive the results of a scan carried out yesterday. Martin O’Neill has confirmed Patrik Berger has been disciplined for "a breach of club rules" after he was understood to have been reluctant to play in a recent reserve-team match.
The midfielder has been allowed to join Stoke City on loan with the manager adamant the former Liverpool player would not play for Villa for "the foreseeable future".
The 33-year-old, who is out of contract in the summer, may have reached a premature end to his stay with Villa, for whom he has made only a minimal contribution since joining on a free transfer from Portsmouth in the summer of 2005.
O’Neill was not happy when Berger was apparently unwilling to play for the second team against Tottenham Hotspur at Stevenage Borough’s ground last Monday.