Despite his players' recent injury troubles and the relative safety of the club's Premiership position, David O'Leary will just not let the 2004-05 season die.
There have been times this campaign when the Aston Villa manager has been stretched simply naming a full match-day squad and other occasions when it looked like they had forgotten to turn up altogether.
But with Villa five points and four places off a likely European spot and, more crucially, suffering from a bout of near-terminal inconsistency, O'Leary will not admit the improbable is impossible.
He said: "We are still in touching distance of the teams around and just above us, and there is so much to play for still. With 27 points left still, anything can happen."
But if Villa were to finish lower than sixth it will not just be their failure to qualify for the Uefa Cup that frustrates him - an inability to build on last season's promising top-six position will also rankle. He said: "I set out this season not to fall into the trap of the previous few years of some teams zigzagging up and down the table." O'Leary has noted how Everton have see-sawed in recent years, finishing seventh in 2002-03, nearly being relegated last season and now challenging strongly for Champions' League spot.
But he is determined to make sure Villa will not be too far away from last season's final placing of sixth when they missed out on continental football by only goal difference.
"You have had the inconsistency of someone like Everton, who came seventh two years ago, were nearly relegated last season and are now chasing the Champions' League - and good luck to them. I want to finish as near to last season's placings as possible.
"I thought it would be a hard ask but I've been demanding that out of the players since day one when they came back from training in July.
"I'm still demanding that with nine games to go. I want us to drive on in the final couple of months and see if we can get close to sixth place again."
O'Leary has praised support of the fans despite having to admit that Villa are a mid-table outfit because of the lack of finances that will be available for team-building in the foreseeable future.
He said: "I'm very flattered by the support of the fans. I'm told the gates are the biggest for the last 20 years. I try to do best with what I have.
"I ask the fans to stick by us. I'm grateful for the support I've had from day one and I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have. I've come and tried to do the best with what I've got and tried to play as attractive football as I can."
Meanwhile, Villa chairman Doug Ellis has moved to quash suggestions that defender Mark Delaney could be leaving.
The Wales international's agent caused a stir this week when he censured Villa for failing to offer his client a contract extension, even though the 28-year-old has 15 months left on his existing deal.
Agent Richard Rosser suggested Delaney's future could lie away from the Midlands if a longer agreement was not forthcoming.
But much as his manager did the day before, Ellis played down the significance of the club's stance, intimating that they would take up the one-year option available in the current contract.
He also advised Thomas Hitzlsperger to sign a deal that has been tabled by Villa and argued that the German international would be foolish if he chose to do otherwise.