Paul Gallagher says Preston’s desire to reach the play-offs remains ‘massive’ despite their poor Easter results.
North End lost to Derby and Sheffield Wednesday in what was a blow to their hopes of making the top six.
Results elsewhere gave them a lift though, and they are only three points behind sixth-placed Middlesbrough with six games to play.
Two of them come in quick succession, with Saturday’s trip to Reading followed by the visit of Leeds to Deepdale next Tuesday night.
Experienced midfielder Gallagher admitted to a great sense of frustration in the wake of the Easter defeats.
But the 33-year-old says that will not deflate the squad for the final run-in.
“This team can go where it wants to,” Gallagher told the Post. “The hunger and desire in the players is massive. You’ve heard the gaffer say many times that we’ve got a lot of young players here who want to get to the top.
“You do that by winning promotions and doing well at the club you are at.
“The older players want to try and win things too, I’ve been lucky enough to do that myself and want it again.
“The club has been in the play-offs before at this level or just on the outskirts, we want to try and take the next step.”
Seven clubs are arguably competing for fifth and sixth positions, all the way down to Brentfordin 11th.
Millwall are the form team in the pack, with Boro, Bristol City, PNE and Sheffield United all failing to win over Easter.
Said Gallagher: “We would have liked to be higher with more points but we are still right in there.
“The other teams up there have got difficult games and things can change.
“I’ve been in this position quite a lot in my career and things can change quickly.
“We have to keep believing in what we are doing, we have been playing well it’s just those fine margins of the right pass or finding the net haven’t gone our way.
“We’ve had a great season and we won’t want it to fizzle out – we want to push right to the end.
“The manager won’t let it fizzle out, we can’t feel sorry for ourselves after a couple of bad results.
“There are six big games left for this club – we need to get back on a winning run.
“We go to Reading next, they have a new manager with new ideas, so we will have to be ready for that.
“This is the business-end of the season and we need to go there and get three points.
“Monday’s result was very disappointing when you bear in mind we had 19 shots and Derby had two.
“We have to dust ourselves down, learn from it and get ready for Saturday.”