If Andy Taylor is to be believed, Walsall’s players have been waiting for tonight since June.
It was in the middle of that month the fixture list was published and while international call-ups meant we’ve all had to wait a little longer than the original date, it hasn’t dampened enthusiasm among players and fans.
Officially at least, the line from the Saddlers is that this is just another game.
But while in a practical sense victory would bring just three points – the same as any other – left-back Taylor admits games like tonight will always mean that little bit more.
“Looking at the fixture list, it is just another game and if you win, all you get is three points,” he said.
“But with it being a derby there is always going to be a little bit of an extra edge and it’s one of those you look for at the start of the season.
“When the fixtures come out it’s the big games you look out for and I’m sure there will be an extra edge to it.
“Then you’ve got to factor in how much it means to the fans. Like I say, we will go there with plenty of confidence and just give it a really good go.”
Far from taking the gloss off tonight’s game, the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy meeting between the two sides earlier this month has merely whetted the appetite, particularly for the Saddlers after they ran their rivals so close in that encounter before eventually losing on penalties.
Dean Smith’s side also have renewed confidence after snapping a five-game winless streak courtesy of a 3-0 win at Crewe on Saturday.
Taylor believes the cup game merely demonstrated they have nothing to fear from a trip to Molineux.
“The thing we learned was we have nothing to fear. We can go there and give them a really good game,” he said.
“I imagine there will be changes come Tuesday but we will be full of confidence.
“Was there a feeling we had to get back on track at Crewe? Yes and no.
“Having not won you want to stop the rot but we know, bar the Preston game, we were putting in good performances and doing the right things and it’s a long old season, so all you can do week in, week out is your best.
“If you keep putting in performances and doing the right things then results will come.
“But it is always nice to stop the rot, as they say. We will just keep going, we believe in what we are doing and we will see what happens.”
One of the talking points ahead of the game is exactly which team Dean Smith will select.
After naming an unchanged side for the opening three fixtures, the next six have seen constant changes, forced or otherwise.
The trip to Crewe also brought a tactical switch to a 4-1-4-1 formation as Smith ended the debate over which two from Sam Mantom, Nicky Featherstone and Adam Chambers to play in the middle of the park by fielding all three players from the start.
Troy Hewitt, perhaps the most out-and-out striker at the manager’s disposal, was handed his first start after netting against Wolves in the cup game.
Taylor, who missed the start of the season because of a niggling ankle injury and saw teenager Mal Benning deputise, at least looks certain to start along with a defence which looks set for the time being.
But he believes the competition for places means no player can afford to rest on their laurels and is exactly what the club need.
“The competition is exactly what you want. If you are going to be successful that is what you need because it keeps you honest,” he said. “If you have the shirt you have to do your job to keep the shirt. It keeps you on your toes and ensures your performances are high.
“That’s what all clubs aim for, the competition for places.
“At the moment the lads who aren’t playing are raring to go, training hard playing for the reserves and pushing the lads who have got the shirt all the way.
“Competition is what you want. No-one feels settled.”