Wolverhampton Wanderers' pursuit of a play-off place was made to look an even tougher task last night after they were left trailing five points adrift of an all important top-six finish.
Preston North End's 1-0 win over the Championship's bottom club, Crewe Alexandra, at Deepdale proved an extremely nervy affair but Billy Davies's men got the job done, taking full advantage of their game in hand.
Brett Ormerod's first-half winner was enough to extend North End's lead over Glenn Hoddle's men to five points, on top of which the Lancashire side boast a superior goal difference.
And, if seventh-placed Wolves are still to sustain serious notions of making it into that top six, a lot now depends on their Easter Monday trip to Deepdale.
Hoddle, still trying to lift spirits after Saturday's shock home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday, insists that there is still plenty to play for over his side's final six games.
"Preston are in the driving seat," admitted the Wolves boss. "But they're not home and dry by any means, so we've got to keep pressing.
"Even Crystal Palace lost at the weekend, so there's everything to play for.
"I've always thought sixth spot would go down to the wire and it looks like ourselves, Preston and Cardiff are fighting for it. And we could possibly still catch Palace, because they might hit a patch of bad form."
Admittedly, with four play-off contenders to play in Watford, North End and outsiders Coventry City and Norwich City, Wolves have their fate in their own hands, to a certain extent. But they must also face two more of the Championship's strugglers, at Plymouth Argyle this Saturday followed by Mark McGhee's Brighton & Hove Albion in their final home game next month.
Given their record this season against the lesser lights, that makes Hoddle's incurably optimistic stance a touch harder to digest.
Wolves have two players operating at the wrong end of the Championship table, Leon Clarke at Plymouth and Colin Cameron at Millwall and the Londoners' hopes of avoiding the drop were yesterday given a huge boost when Wolves allowed Cameron to stay until the end of the season.
Cameron has helped earn Millwall seven points from a possible 12 since he was surprisingly deemed surplus to requirements at Molineux. But Wolves still have the option of recalling the former Scottish international midfielder at 24 hours' notice in the event of an injury crisis.
Millwall manager Dave Tuttle said: "I'm grateful to Wolves for allowing Colin to stay. His presence only increases my belief that we can avoid relegation as he has made a major contribution since he's been here."