A victory for Birmingham City against Tottenham Hotspur tomorrow would, according to Maik Taylor, provide two rewards: the certainty of avoiding relegation and the chance to mount a challenge for European football.
The Birmingham goalkeeper says that the team have underachieved this season but, with eight matches remaining, there is still hope of a revival and the possibility of surpassing their highest Premiership finish of tenth.
A series of injuries to key players, coupled with a chronic lack of consistency, have contributed to Birmingham flirting with the bottom part of the table for much of the season. At present, they occupy 13th position.
However, morale was restored with the 2-0 victory over Aston Villa on March 20 after wretched defeats against Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion.
With so much attention on the Villa match as a means of securing bragging rights in the city, it seemed to be forgotten that the victory provided three valuable Premiership points.
" It was a big win against Aston Villa because we had found ourselves being sucked back into the relegation zone," Taylor said. " People kept talking about how the manager felt after the West Brom game and he was the one who came out in front of the cameras - but we felt equally as bad.
"We felt we had let everyone and ourselves down. We knew we were far, far better than those two games with Palace and Albion and we came up with the goods against Villa and now we need to kick on.
"A lot was expected of us on the back of last season and we have possibly under-achieved. There was a lot of expectation because of the number of quality players that were brought in during the summer.
"But it has been a strange season. We have been very inconsistent. We have taken six points off Liverpool and lost six points to Palace. We probably need another three points to see us safe. Fulham and Portsmouth are being dragged into it and we need another win at least and then we can look upwards.
"We have got to keep believing. That [European football] is an incentive for us to keep going and try to win as many as we can between now and the end of the season."
Against Tottenham, Taylor will face Paul Robinson for the second time in a week and hopes for better fortunes than when Northern Ireland lost 4-0 to England at Old Trafford. "Paul has his opportunity with England and it is going well for him," Taylor said. "He is keeping clean sheets and that is all you can ask of him."