Sheffield United boss Nigel Clough has conceded defeat in the race for automatic promotion this season - but insists his side are far from dead and buried just yet.
Clough, whose side are fifth in the League One table and 13 points behind second-placed Preston North End, made the admission ahead of Saturday’s trip to Scunthorpe United.
United lead local rivals Doncaster and Barnsley - who they face before the end of the season - by just three points and Clough said: “It’s looking likely that the top two has gone now, especially with the form [leaders] Bristol City and Preston are in.
“I can’t see Bristol City slipping up now, so I think they’re gone, and Preston won all their games in February so they’ll be very difficult to catch, too.
“That doesn’t mean we’ll stop trying, and you can always make ground up, but they’d have to have a serious slip-up now and that’s very unlikely.
“Preston have built a good squad over the last few seasons, and you can see that paying dividends now.”
Clough added: “We have to remember that, before we lost to Peterborough, we were on a six-match unbeaten run.
“But if you listen to some, it’s all doom and gloom and we’re finished as a side.
“Far from it... we’re still in good shape.”