Hope continues to spring eternal at Nottingham Forest with eight games of the season remaining.
In fairness, you could scrub the last seven words from that sentence and use it as a summary of the campaign as a whole.
From Aug 4 to March 16, the Reds have always been in the hunt.
That, though, is part of the problem.
They have been the hunters throughout, rather than the hunted.
Catch-up has been played for the vast majority of the season, with only fleeting visits paid to the play-off pack.
It is, however, not about how you start, it is about how you finish.
The ambition first formed back in the heady days of summer remains with the onset of spring.
There were some dark days during the winter, but shoots of recovery were found.
Another managerial change was made and the wheels have not come off.
Outside influences and internal inconsistency has threatened to dash the dreams.
Match officials with questionable eyesight and underperforming players have become par for the course.
As has the endearing sense of hope.
Maybe, just maybe, Forest can deliver.
In truth, those straws have been clutched for two decades now.
Each passing season since slipping out of the Premier League has brought a fresh round of optimism.
Much of it has been crushed, but we keep coming back for more.
Martin O’Neill has vowed that he will either deliver on those dreams or walk away, and that remains the message coming from the man at the helm.
Forest’s boss has said in the Nottingham Post: “We have had people queuing for season tickets. There is hope there. And I want that hope to become expectation.”
Don’t we all, Martin!
Many of us have been hanging on to that hope for longer than we care to remember.
This is our season.
Well, maybe next year.
You can’t rush these things.
It always takes 20 years to hit your stride, everyone knows that.
Hope, hope and more hope.
And, as the old saying goes, it is the hope that kills you.
Expectation would be a nice change of pace!