Darren Ferguson admits Doncaster Rovers can only chase the final play-off berth as they play catch up in League One this season.
Rovers head into tomorrow’s clash with third place Walsall sitting eight points off sixth spot.
With a further four points separating them from fifth, Ferguson says his side can only hope for sixth but believes even that may be beyond them this term.
“Ourselves, looking at it realistically, we’re going to have to go some to get top six,” Ferguson said.
“The top five are out of reach.
“The other teams above us wouldn’t be saying that but they are for us.
“It might change in terms of which order they finish in but I can’t see it changing too much.”
Ferguson says only a consistent run of results will see Rovers strengthen their challenge.
And he believes the notoriously competitive League One will only really sort itself out in the final few weeks of the season.
He said: “Consistency is the key if we’re going to have a chance.
“You never know. You can go on another run, win four games on the bounce and we’d be having a different conversation.
“This is very much a league that never really changes. It’s very close.
“I think it’ll be like that probably until April.
“But I do think the top five has taken shape.”
After back to back disappointing performances, Ferguson has called upon Rovers to return to the standards they set before Christmas.
He said: “I’m a big believer in trying to maintain our standards because when we do, we’re a very difficult team to play against.
“We’ve had a reminder that we need to do that.”