Chorley boss Matt Jansen admits his team are up against it if they are to end the season in the Conference North play-offs.
A 2-0 victory over Curzon Ashton at the weekend had put the Magpies firmly in the mix to finish inside the top five.
However, a narrow 1-0 defeat at Bradford Park Avenue on Wednesday night means Chorley are now four points off the pace, having played a game more.
With seven games left to play, Jansen believes it is too early to write off his team’s hopes but admits it is going to take a big effort from now until the end of the season if they are force their way into the promotion reckoning.
“We have still got a chance,” said Jansen.
“It’s a tall order – it’s a long shot to get in the play-offs because we had a slow start to the season.
“Our form recently has been great and I thought to myself before playing Bradford that, out of the last eight games, we could afford two blips.
“The Bradford loss is one of them and we can afford one more, but we will have to win five or six of the other games.”
The win for Bradford means they now move five points clear of the relegation zone and Jansen said his team paid the penalty for a slow start.
“They are fighting for their lives and have changed their manager,” Jansen said.
“It was a scrappy game, a battle, but I felt the lads did not start until they went a goal behind.
“We picked our level up, but it was much too late by then.”
The Magpies have a busy schedule over the next few days as they travel to FC United of Manchester tomorrow, and then host Stalybridge Celtic at Victory Park on Easter Monday.
One bit of good news for Jansen is that Bury manager David Flitcroft has agreed to extend central defender Keil O’Brien’s stay at the club for the remainder of the season.
Meanwhile, in the National League, Southport are at home to Guiseley tomorrow.
The Sandgrounders are six points clear of the drop zone and will be keen to put more daylight between themselves and the bottom four.
They have won just once in the last 13 games and were beaten 1-0 last weekend at Torquay, which was Andy Bishop’s first game in charge after Dino Maamria’s shock resignation.
On Easter Monday, Port travel to Altrincham.