The Wollongong Wolves don't need to be asked about their A-League ambitions.
It's an objective they have made clear time and time again.
The club put their hat in the ring during the last round of expansion, ultimately falling short in a process many described as shambolic.
And the Wolves have made it clear that was not the end of the road, but instead just one step in a march towards their ultimate goal.
In recent months, the path has started to take shape.
There is movement on the ground at various levels of Australian football.
The Central Coast Mariners licence is up for sale and the Wellington Phoenix are likely to disband.
The arrival of Macarthur FC will take the A-League to 12 teams. The now independently run competition continues to harbour ambitions to expand to 14 teams in coming seasons.
And finally, after years of talk, a national second division is not only on the agenda but a priority item.
The groundwork is currently being laid for the creation of what many consider a vital and missing link in the professional pathway.
"Our goal remains to play in the A-League," Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire said.
"There's talk around a second division, which is needed, and also talk about the A-League expanding.
"We need to expand the A-League and we need a second division, it remains to be seen what will come first."
While the Wolves road to the A-League is starting to take shape, the exact path remains shrouded in fog.
It is expected the Central Coast Mariners will remain in Gosford when current owner Mike Charlesworth sells the franchise.
A Canberra consortium is widely considered the frontrunner for the Wellington Phoenix licence should it become available in the next year.
The Gold Coast United, sans former owner Clive Palmer, have also expressed their interest in returning to the A-League.
The Wolves face a struggle to climb above these groups in the pecking order.
Despite the challenge of surpassing their rivals, there is no doubt Wollongong is in a better position than during the previous round of expansion.
Struggling for leadership and direction, the club was fighting a battle on many fronts. Not only were they attempting to fend off 13 other bids from across the country, but they were also fighting Southern Expansion for the hearts and minds of the Illawarra.
The time and money spent on the process was all for nought, with Western United and Macarthur FC named the expansion franchises.
It was later revealed Football Federation were only seriously considering bids from capital cities.
Two years later, Wollongong are on a firmer footing both on and off the field.
Wilkshire has built the side into an NPL powerhouse, taking out the NSW premiership last year, while primary backer Tory Lavalle has cleaned up the team's finances.
The A-League has promised future rounds of expansion will be different, with more targeted criteria and consultation between parties throughout the process.
But when, exactly, the competition reopens that process remains up for debate.
That gives the Wolves time to resolve the two main sticking points in their chase for an A-League licence.
Currently playing out of subpar facilities at Albert Butler Park, the club views a new high-performance centre as crucial to an A-League bid.
Secondly, they need significant financial investment to cover an expansion fee of up to $15 million and ensure the Wolves have a roster capable of competing with the current teams.
"There are some things we're trying to make happen," Wilkshire said. "We'll keep looking to build on what we've got and chase new opportunities.
"We want to try and improve the infrastructure in the region. Also, to go into the A-League, you need that financial backing, you need people around to support it.
"It's a work in progress, it doesn't happen overnight."
The Wolves are attempting to build an investment group around Lavalle.
The current club chairman and prominent businessman recently missed out in his bid to purchase the Illawarra Hawks, before turning his focus to horse racing.
While fully committed to the Wolves, Lavalle does not have the funds required to turn the team into an A-League franchise.
Lavalle and Wilkshire are working hard to connect with local and international investors to generate the necessary financial backing.
The coach has taken on dual roles in recent months, Wilkshire ensuring his side performs on the field while also attempting to build relationships with potential business partners.
This week the second-placed Wolves will travel north for a crucial away clash with Rockdale Illinden, who sit just one point back in fifth.
There is a belief within the club that Wollongong's facilities are inferior to many of their NPL rivals and they are eager for Wollongong Council and NSW Government support for upgraded grounds.
"Even if we don't have a team in the A-League, we still need facilities for juniors in the region," Wilkshire said.
"We have talented young players that at times don't have the right environment to go and succeed. If you look at Wollongong, we're behind everywhere else."
It is understood Wollongong Council does not currently have the funding available to contribute towards a new centre of excellence.
In a statement, a spokesperson said the council's focus is on spreading money around a range of venues.
"We continue to take a holistic view when it comes to the investment of our resources and seek to balance funding across 67 Council-controlled sports ground sites within the Wollongong Local Government Area in order to support more than 34,000 people who use these spaces each year," the statement said.
"That's why we continue to provide, maintain and invest in infrastructure across Council-controlled grounds to encourage training opportunities for football players and clubs, such as the Wollongong Wolves junior teams and their academy program."
With the prospect of a new A-League licence facing a number of roadblocks, the national second division looms as possibly the most likely path to the top flight.
Efforts are underway to have the competition established in time for the 2022 season.
The likely shift of the A-League from summer to winter will see the two leagues align and promotion and relegation established.
The financial barriers to entry into the national second division will be much lower.
A group of more than 60 clubs from around Australia, including the Wolves, recently met and pledged to chart a path to the establishment of the competition.
With Wollongong taking out last year's National Premier Leagues finals series, Wilkshire is adamant his side should feature in the second division if they don't receive an A-League licence.
"The people of Wollongong and fans around the country want to see the Wolves back at the national stage," Wilkshire said.
"From everyone I've spoken to in football, I have no doubt about that, it's just about making it feasible."
No matter the path, the Wolves' end goal remains the same. To play in the A-League.
Teams from regional centres have had a choppy history in the competition, with both Gold Coast United and the North Queensland Fury experiencing short-lived runs.
Central Coast and Newcastle have also struggled and come closing to folding on occasions.
While Wollongong is a similar market to Gosford, Wilkshire is confident there are a number of key differences.
"The path has shown that with a decent team and a local flavour, clubs can thrive in smaller markers.
"Wollongong is different to Central Coast. People are proud of this region and if you go about it the right way they will support you and it will succeed."
When the Wolves will get the opportunity to display the city's passion and support remains to be seen.
But given the current desire for expansion, it appears the club will eventually return to a national football competition. It's just a matter of how they get there.