The remainder of August is likely to be crucial to Aston Villa's 2007/08 season with the squad still looking threadbare as the big kick-off approaches.
In spite of the arrival of West Ham duo Nigel Reo-Coker and Marlon Harewood, manager Martin O'Neill has so far failed to strengthen in key areas.
The former Celtic boss has pruned his squad during the summer with a number of fringe players allowed to leave Villa Park.
The likes of Liam Ridgewell, Jlloyd Samuel and Aaron Hughes have moved on leaving defensive resources somewhat thin.
O'Neill has promised fans he will get the men he wants but the faithful must be fearful if key men Gareth Barry, Olef Mellberg and Martin Laursen spend any time on the sidelines during the season.
But O'Neill, whose priorities include a right-back and a goalkeeper, has stated he will not pay grossly-inflated fees for players.
That did not stop him shelling out £8.5million for Reo-Coker and a lot hangs on how the England Under 21 skipper settles in at Villa Park.
Villa missed a driving force in midfield last season and should Reo-Coker rediscover his best form, he should provide the physical presence needed.
The Villans will also be looking to shake off their tag of draw specialists. They drew 17 games in the last Premier League campaign and a handful more wins would have propelled them into a European place.
A shortage of goals did not help and O'Neill will be looking to giant target man John Carew to find the net more regularly this time around.
The Norwegian international was an instant success, scoring the winner against West Ham on his debut, but he managed just three goals in all after arriving from Lyon in January and will need to improve drastically on that tally if Villa are to climb above mid-table.
He will need support from new signing Harewood to ensure Villa up their goal tally while youngsters Luke Moore and Gabriel Agbonlahor will be looking to weigh in with their fair share.
It's also going to be a big season for another January signing Ashley Young. The 22-year-old was brought in from Watford for the princely sum of £9.65million but he only found the net twice in his 11 games. He needs to be more consistent this time around if he's to delight the Villa Park faithful as well as impress England boss Steve McClaren.
Along with trying to bring in reinforcements to a squad light on numbers, O'Neill also needs to tie up deals to retain some of his current players.
The ex-Leicester boss is keen to tie up new deals for youngsters Craig Gardner and Moore while he also needs to talk to representatives of Mellberg and Thomas Sorensen, who are in the final year of their current deals.
O'Neill has gone on record to say that "by the end of the transfer window I would not want to be out-numbered in the sense of how many have gone out of the club and who has come in so we have a few to bring in" but Villa supporters may have to be patient in what is likely to be another season in which they fall short of their desire for European football.
Can Villa make it into Europe this season?