Coventry City's late promotion charge was derailed at Crewe last weekend. Although a 4-1 caning has surely ended their play-off bid, manager Micky Adams says his side can have an impact on the race for the Premiership.
Coupled with Preston North End's midweek win, Coventry's reverse has left them 12 points adrift of the play-off pack with only six games left. Preston are due at the Ricoh Arena tomorrow before the Sky Blues' match against Wolverhampton
Wanderers, the play-off outsiders, at Molineux the following Saturday. With Cardiff City coming to Coventry on the final day, Adams' men have a part to play.
"I was so disappointed last weekend," he said, "I felt we still had a chance to get into the play-off picture and do some damage and we can still do some damage. That's what we'll try to do on Saturday, to put a dent in Preston's bid."
North End have 11 players sidelined, nine injured, including key striker Dave Nugent, plus two flu victims, one of whom, Youl Mawene, might yet recover. But Adams' main hope is simply seeing his own side recover.
Adams said: "[Crewe manager] Dario Gradi said a fantastic thing to me after the game at Crewe. He said 'It doesn't matter what you might have said to them, at the end of the day, it's still only bottom-of-the-table Crewe'.
"They used that to their advantage. Despite me trying to drum into the players what an important game it was, Crewe sensed that it was a bigger game for them than it was for us.
"The players understand that they let themselves down but, while there were a few lips on the floor in the early part of the week, we can't keep apologising.
"It's done and we've got on to get back on track. We've got to look at the bigger picture and that says we've done OK and made progress and done well to get even close with such a small squad."
Adams says Coventry are closer to signing midfield man Michael Doyle on a new contract. "A lot of people will know he's a Bosman free agent and we need to address
that," Adams said. "We are aware we run the risk of losing him. There are aspects of his game we want to improve, namely his goalscoring record but he's progressed nicely and, for energy levels, there's nobody better in the league.
"But I've stated all along to the board that I want to keep him and people better qualified than myself are in talks with him, which I understand have gone very well. If anyone deserves new contracts, it's people like him who are wholehearted, give their all on a Saturday and never miss a day's training."