Alex McLeish believes it is "nigh on impossible" for Birmingham to become an established top-six club in the Barclays Premier League.
The former Scotland boss is aware that expectation levels have risen among supporters after the Blues finished ninth last season.
But he has echoed the thoughts of former City manager Trevor Francis, who feels a top-six berth is an unrealistic aspiration.
"It is ludicrous to suggest that - it is incredible that some people think that," he said. "My experiences in the game tell me it is nigh on impossible.
"We can all dream and have ambition but there are about eight teams in there who, over a length of the season, will always come to the fore.
"Then the rest are fighting for the other places and if we come ninth again, it will be phenomenal. I would judge that even better than last season - finishing in the top 17 is our priority again."