Doncaster Rovers boss Darren Ferguson says he does not expect to lift the League Two Championship at Hartlepool on Saturday - but is demanding a performance from his players.
Young Fergie described Doncaster’s 3-1 home defeat to Exeter City on Saturday as one of the most disappointing results of his managerial career.
Their third straight defeat allowed Plymouth to leapfrog them at the top of the table and take a one-point advantage into the final weekend.
Plymouth play at Gruimsby on Saturday.
Ferguson has won three promotions with Peterborough United but is yet to win a league title as a manager.
“It’s an incredibly poor way to finish the season,” he said.
“Saturday is now a very important game in the sense that we need a win before the season ends.
“And that’ll be tough because they (Hartlepool) need a win to stay in the Football League.
“But we’ve worked so hard to get to here, four months top of the league, and now obviously we’ve thrown that away.
“I don’t think Plymouth will be as kind as us.”
Saturday’s home defeat to Exeter was galling for Ferguson.
Ferguson said: “I’m gutted, bitterly disappointed. To have worked so hard to get to this point and then in our penultimate game we’ve had the worst result of our season.
“It’s an incredibly disappointing - we might never get in a position where we can be champions of a league.”