Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett has not given up on automatic promotion after his side’s 2-0 win at home to Scunthorpe.
Pompey closed the gap on the top two to four points thanks to goals from Omar Bogle and Jamal Lowe.
Jackett said: “We have to keep the pressure on, there are 24 more points to play for and a lot can happen in those points.
“We have to keep believing and keep going for that but if ultimately it is the play-offs we want to go into them playing well, winning games and playing with confidence.
“We persevered today, it’s not easy to be patient.
“In the first half we were in control of the game trying to do the right things. We couldn’t either find the right ball or a couple of times the finish.
“It was a key goal from Omar Bogle, he’s tucked it in the corner and given the goalkeeper no chance.
“From then on we did very well and it’s something we’ve wanted to improve on and have talked about – going on from the first goal and getting over the line.”
Pompey had the best chances of a wind-affected first half, with Lee Brown and Lowe both going close.
Lowe was then thwarted by a block after rounding visiting goalkeeper Jak Alnwick before being narrowly unable to steer home from a tight angle with the goal gaping.
Pompey were the better team in the second half but had to wait until 19 minutes from time for their breakthrough goal.
A Brown free-kick landed at the feet of Ben Close and then Bogle who fired it into the bottom corner with a clever shot on the spin.
Lowe made the points safe with a powerful shot into the top corner after a mazy solo run.
Scunthorpe manager Stuart McCall admitted his side were second best.
“It was always going to be a tough ask coming to a side that are pushing towards the top of the league, 26 points ahead of us, and that showed,” McCall said.
“They were better than us today. We would have had to be at our best today but we weren’t.
“We said before the game that they’ve got a lot of attacking threats and we would have to defend well, but I was disappointed with our offensive play and we just didn’t look after it well enough.
“You can talk about formations and tactics but you need your good players to be on top of their game against better players and unfortunately we didn’t cause them enough problems.”