Chesterfield’s hopes of climbing into the League Two play-off picture were all but dashed on Tuesday night after a 2-1 defeat to Torquay United.
The Spireites never recovered after conceding two early goals at Plainmoor, despite Liam Cooper reducing the deficit 13 minutes from time.
Paul Cook’s men remain eight points adrift of the top seven, having played a game more than some of the teams occupying play-off spots, ahead of this weekend’s clash with Plymouth Argyle.
Argyle, managed by former Chesterfield chief John Sheridan, moved two points away from the drop zone with a 2-0 defeat of play-off chasing Southend in mid-week.
And current Spireites boss, Cook, was under no illusions about the difficulty of their task.
He said: “Our inconsistency has been our consistency this year. We’ve seven games to go and we want to be competitive until the end of the season.
“All teams at the bottom are fighting for their lives. We will move heaven and earth to get it right.”
Chesterfield look set to be without Nathan Smith and Armand Gnanduillet through injury.
Cook revealed left back Smith could be out for the remainder of the season after a collision with Deane Smalley in the 1-0 win at Oxford United.
While Gnanduillet picked up a knock in training and missed both games.
Tendayi Darikwa made his first start for the club at Oxford since the draw away with Rochdale on February 2, while Drew Talbot also returned from illness.