Adam Clayton believes that Middlesbrough have an edge over Derby and Bristol City - despite the pair having a game in hand over his side.
The trio are all battling it out for the final spot in the Championship play-off places and, after defeat to Nottingham Forest on Easter Monday, Boro have been left playing catch-up.
But Clayton is refusing to admit defeat in the race for the top and has backed his side to mount a late surge up the division - starting with the visit of Reading on Saturday afternoon.
While Middlesbrough's task looks tough, with both Derby and Bristol City holding a game in hand, Clayton doesn't feel that will make too much of a difference.
And the former Manchester City midfielder has offered a critical view on the club's play-off rivals ahead of some pivotal fixtures.
"Remember, Derby and Bristol City still have to play each other so for me, the game in hand is a bit of a red herring really,” he explained.
“They play each other on Saturday, so that’s a game where both teams can’t get three points. Hopefully, that will be a draw.
“Both of them have some tough fixtures to play after that. Derby have West Brom on the last day."
“Bristol aren’t pulling up any trees and Derby just sneaked home against QPR.
“And both of their games in hand are away, Derby are at Swansea and Bristol are at Millwall so it’s by no means over.
“And I still think if we win both our games the situation is more in our hands than not.
“If we can get the three points against Reading, it could all change again.
“We’ve just got to stay positive, win our home game, do what we can, and make sure it’s still to fight for in the final game of the season.”