Looming large is the biggest Manchester derby yet, but first for Joleon Lescott is a date with Wolverhampton Wanderers and the prospect of being part of the side who relegate his boyhood team.
"Yeah, that would be very disappointing. Obviously it is my childhood club so I've a lot of friends there," says the Manchester City defender, whose career began at the Molineux academy. "TC is one of the most influential men in my career. I still say he's probably the best coach I've worked with. I know people will laugh and say: 'Well you've worked with certain managers,' but as an individual coach, TC is the best."
TC is Terry Connor, the interim manager of a Wolves side whose seemingly inevitable plunge into the relative oblivion of the Championship could occur on Sunday evening, if they fail to at least take a point from City's visit. Lescott, enjoying a commanding season after an indifferent start at Eastlands, credits Connor for the realisation of a talent that makes him a near certainty to be in the England squad for the summer's European Championship.
"It was the way he schooled me as a youngster," he says. "There were mistakes I was making and he put me in situations and said: 'The faster you learn from those mistakes the better you will become.' Even when I left Wolves he would still speak to me on the phone and watch games I was playing and say: 'You're doing this wrong, you're doing this right.'"
Before City travel to Molineux on Sunday, Manchester United kick-off in the early game hoping to again establish an eight-point advantage over their neighbours – for a few hours, at least – by beating Everton, the club Lescott joined from Wolves for £5m in June 2006.
Focus will duly shift to the Etihad Stadium eight days later and a seismic 162nd Manchester derby, in which City will attempt to claim a league double over Sir Alex Ferguson's champions.
"It's a title decider," Lescott says. "If we win then it would be the greatest league game I was fortunate to be involved in. Wolves versus West Brom always meant a lot to me and my first derby for Everton was a great one as we beat Liverpool 3-0, so I have played in some great derbies. But if we beat United and go on to win the league then, yeah, that would be the greatest league game of my life.
"I can feel the excitement. It's been here for a while and even though they may not like to admit it, Man United now see City as their main rivals."
Last autumn, United were humiliated 6-1 by City, a match in which Jonny Evans was sent off moments into the second half. In January, the Reds gained some revenge by knocking them out of the FA Cup – a 3-2 victory in which the City captain, Vincent Kompany, lasted only 12 minutes before being shown a red card.
"Maybe they'll use that [as inspiration], but we'll use the performance in the second half to get us started," says Lescott of how City scored their goals after the interval. "Going into that game [the upcoming derby] we'll have 11 men, so hopefully it will be more of a fair contest."
If United defeat Everton and City lose at Wolves, Ferguson's men would need only a draw to stretch to 45 the number of years since City last won the title and no doubt ignite delirious celebrations from the travelling supporters who would stay behind as long as possible to rub the triumph in.
This is the doomsday scenario for Lescott, who says: "We're aware that they could win it [the title] at our ground. No matter what happens this weekend we are going to be looking to win that game, whether it's for the title race or just for the fans alone. We know how much derbies mean to people and those involved at a club. If they can clinch the title at our ground we'll be doing everything in our power to stop that from happening. We're not going to let it happen, even though they're a great team."
Lescott is aware that City's 6-1 victory deeply wounded United and their fans. His nightmare is that by 10pm on 30 April, Wayne Rooney and company will have performed an exorcism as traumatic. "If they win it at our place I think that would equal the pain they felt in October," he adds. "We've both got another massive game before and I'll be an Everton fan even more so this weekend. Hopefully they can get a result there."
David Moyes's team trot out at Old Trafford for the first time since going down 2-1 in the closing moments of their FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool last Saturday. Given that disappointment, can they still do City a favour? "Definitely. They're a great club and I know their team-spirit well," Lescott says. "David Moyes will have them raring to go. They'll want to finish the season strong because they can finish above Liverpool and that is a major plus for them."
City's 6-1 defeat of Norwich City last Saturday followed a 4-0 win over West Bromwich Albion to end a dire run of one win from five league outings. In that sequence, Swansea City and Arsenal recorded wins while Stoke and Sunderland managed to earn draws, with the 2-1 home win over Chelsea being City's sole success.
What happened? "It was probably just that stage of the season when people are tired – every team has that during a season," Lescott says, before stating that the 1-0 loss at Arsenal, to a late Mikel Areta goal, was the rocket the team required to go out next time and defeat West Bromwich. "The result wasn't great but what really let us down was the performance. We were pegged back for most of the game. [At Norwich] it was more like the old Man City. Our bad spell came at the wrong end of the season but we've shown in the last two games what we're capable of."
If the title is not claimed, can City still be deemed to be a club who have progressed? "Progression was the main aim and we're going in that direction," Lescott says. "It's a massive achievement coming second [which is guaranteed], but we still want to win the league. If we don't win it, we will win many in the future. This squad we have is one of the best in the world."
Mark Hughes, Roberto Mancini's predecessor as manager, made Lescott a £22m defender when he signed him in August 2009 following tortuous negotiations with Everton. Lescott, now 29, had to force through the move by lodging a written transfer request to a furious Moyes, who eventually relented. The defender then endured an 18-month struggle. Mancini had replaced Hughes in the December and the belief was that Lescott's poor displays were evidence of him buckling under the expectation caused by his price.
"Probably, you could say that," says the player, who this week, along with his brother Aaron, a former lower league's player, and Millwall's Jordan Stewart, launched the Lescott Stewart fashion label. "But I put pressure on myself, so I wouldn't put it down to the standard of club – I want to play well for whoever I'm playing. The publicity surrounding my move didn't bother me – I don't get to choose the fee people pay. I was just grateful that City wanted to buy me.
"I was struck with injury [to a knee] early in my career and then the new manager saw fit to play Vinny [Vincent Kompany] and Kolo [Touré], and rightly so – they were playing well. I knew I'd have to prove myself. I like to believe I did that in the second half of last season, and throughout this season I'd like to think I've been quite consistent."
Now established alongside Kompany, Lescott is hopeful of an England call-up for Euro 2012: "I'm pleased with way things have gone for club and country. I wasn't in the last squad [for the 3-2 defeat by Holland in February], even though I played well [in the win] against Spain, so I'm taking nothing for granted."
England, of course, currently have no manager. Is this strange? "Not really," Lescott says. "I don't think about that. The FA will make the right decision and hopefully I am doing the right things to show whoever the new manager is that I should be in the squad."