Ambitious Barnsley skipper Martin Cranie has not given up hope of securing a play-off place this season.
But the experienced centre-back admits that the Reds have to beat Chesterfield on Saturday or their play-off hopes will be ended.
“It’s a must-win game for us, it’s as simple as that,” revealed Cranie, speaking exclusively to The Star. “It’s a massive game for both clubs. They’re seven points ahead of us in the table and they know a win would open up a comfortable gap.
“But we know that if we beat them we’ll cut that gap to just four points with four games to play, so there’s still a lot to play for.
“All we can do now is try and win all of our remaining games.
“If we win three of those five games then it’s probably going to be enough, we’d have to have some of the other teams around lose a few matches.
“But it’s a strange division and no one would gave thought we’d have got up sixth place when we were 19th and facing a relegation battle.
“We’ve got to keep believing and the reality is that we’ve still got a chance of getting in there.”
An impressive nine-game unbeaten run fired the resurgent Reds into the play-off frame, but frustrating defeats to fellow promotion-chasers Sheffield United and, more surprisingly to strugglers Colchester United, has seen the club slip down to 11th in the standings.
But with five games remaining hope still remains from Cranie and his teammates that the play-offs are still a realistic possibility.
“The most disappointing thing for me was the Sheffield United defeat,” admitted Cranie. “For some reason we just didn’t turn up.
“We were all absolutely gutted to have lost, especially because it was to our derby rivals and because of the importance on the match.
“But it’s important we pick everyone up now and go again. It’s a simple scenario for us, we’ve just got to win all our games.
“We should be proud of our nine-game unbeaten run, but we one last push to see if we can get that play-off place.”
Meanwhile, Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has been nominated for the Sky Bet League One Manager of the Month award for March.
New boss Johnson guided the Reds to an impressive six-game unbeaten run last month, which included three wins and three draws.
Two of the those draws were against league leaders Bristol City and second-placed Preston North End.
Former Barnsley boss Keith Hill, now manager of Rochdale, City’s Steve Cotterill and Peterborough United manager Dave Robinson have also been nominated for the award.
Johnson will know whether he has won the award or not when the winner is announced tomorrow.