There's a moment in any promotion season to which winning dressingrooms invariably look back as the turning point when the champagne is uncorked in May.
For Dave Jones' promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers' team of 2002-03, the definitive performance was one night at Portman Road.
That night, against unsuspecting Ipswich Town, Jones' men turned on the class.
Kenny Miller scored a brace as Wolves twice came from behind, Lee Naylor scored the winner with one of his occasional screamers and the cake was iced with the final goal of the night by George Ndah.
A 4-2 win served as a chilling statement of intent to the rest.
No longer mere play-off contenders, but everyone's main fancies. All the more impressive in that it was Wolves' response to the 4-1 defeat in the previous game at Brighton that had threatened to derail their promotion bandwagon.
Ipswich was the first match in a run of 18 with only one defeat that carried Wolves to promotion. And, with half of that team still playing prominent roles under Hoddle, it is hard to imagine that they have not once again reflected on that uplifting February night before tomorrow afternoon's return to East Anglia.
All that is missing from this season's tilt at promotion is a similar sort of performance to stir the spirits among Molineux's massed ranks.
Hoddle said: "I still feel that the best is yet to come and that we've got a run in us.
"If that is to happen, I'd obviously prefer it to be in the second half of the season than the first."
Occasionally this season, they have flirted. The odd performance has hinted at what they might be capable of. Yet the Wolves faithful has seen nothing to compare with the 2-0 win clocked up, also against Joe Royle's Ipswich, the last time the two sides met one Monday night last April.
"We could have won by five," Hoddle said. He does not exaggerate.
Wolves nailed lpswich's automatic promotion hopes with such a stunning display in front of a live television audience that it sent more than one rival Championship manager white with fear. The fact that Hoddle's men have failed to match those standards is what must worry the Wolves manager the most as he prepares to start his second year in office.
It will be 12 months to the day next Wednesday since Hoddle breezed into Molineux on the morning of a 2-1 home defeat to Millwall. Assuming one discounts that setback from his CV (and he's made it quite clear that he does), tomorrow's game will be his 46th in charge, of which a staggering 24 have been draws.
Injuries have obviously played their part but Wolves' inability to finish off teams remains their Achilles heel.
The loss of their two main strikers, Miller and Carl Cort, has not helped but Hoddle says that a general improvement in front of goal is needed throughout the team.
"We can't just hang our hat on Kenny and Corty," he said. "They're a strike force that worked well last year and to a degree this year.
"'Corty' is still the league's second top scorer, even though he's been out more than a month.
" But we had them fit against Burnley, battered them and still lost 1-0.
"There were frustrating times last year when we deserved to win more games than we did and played some very good football.
"You'd have thought you can't keep playing that sort of football and not winning but it's happened because we've not been clinical enough."
Wolves' lack of goals at home has led to a depressing run in front of their own fans.
Only eight points (and five goals) from their past eight home matches has led to 16 dropped points out of a possible 24.
It raises the perennial Molineux question, directed at every Wolves manager these past two decades, as to whether Hoddle's side have a fear of playing at home. Hoddle's answer is firm and decisive.
He said: "I wasn't being asked that question at the start of the season when we had five back-to-back wins. It's just a phase we're going through.
"We proved at the beginning of the season that we can win at home.
" We're only halfway through this season, there's many hurdles to overcome, we've still got 25 games to go and there's lots of points to play for.
"With six or seven players coming back after injury and staying fit, I feel we've got a good run in us and that means winning our home games and taking pressure off our away performances."