Sunderland boss Jack Ross has challenged his players to stay in the top two after a 1-1 draw with Burton lifted his team into the League One automatic promotion spots.
The Black Cats edged up to second for the first time since December after coming from behind to claim a point against the Brewers.
It was not a convincing performance from the hosts, who conceded in the 19th minute when defender Tom Flanagan deflected a Marcus Harness cross into his own net.
Even though Sunderland responded quickly when Jack Baldwin headed in a Grant Leadbitter corner, there was no way through for a winner and they could just as easily have lost.
Ross, whose side are unbeaten in three since losing the Checkatrade Trophy final at Wembley, said: “For us we want to win games here, but I have to temper it.
“Nine days ago we were gutted to come out of losing at Wembley and sitting fourth, tonight we are second – so it has been a productive nine days for us.
“We were trying to win this and we will take the seven points from the last nine.
“They pushed and pushed tonight and we are stretched at the moment in terms of players being missing. We had to make an early change again (with Dylan McGeouch going off).
“Tonight it was open and stretched, and that was reflected in the number of opportunities for both sides.
“They are a good team and are good in forward areas. We accepted that in the hope of outdoing them.
“The expectation is huge here, nine months ago there was a huge transition, the fact we have stayed up and around the top three or four has shifted the focus for us.
“We have guaranteed a (play-off) position that gives us an opportunity now if we don’t get the top two but we know if we win the remaining games we will finish it where we want to be.”
Burton boss Nigel Clough was back in the city where he was born and he spoke about how much he enjoys his returns to the north-east, where his father Brian Clough scored 63 goals in 74 matches for Sunderland.
Clough, whose side sit in mid-table, said: “It was a good draw for both teams. I don’t think either deserved to lose. The only mystery was there was only two goals, it could have been 4-4.
“I was just talking to one of the gentlemen in there and he said ‘I still remember your dad playing’ and he said how much he would have loved that game. And he would have loved it as well.
“But do you know what my dad would have said? That he would have scored four in that game with the amount of chances the two teams created – and he would have scored four as well!
“We didn’t want to sit, we were a bit disappointed first half we didn’t play more the way we can. It was nice we showed a bit of what we can do in the second half because next season we want to challenge in the top six ourselves.
“I think Sunderland will go up because of here (the Stadium of Light), this could be what sees them over the line.
“I have seen Barnsley on Saturday and they are a very good team as well. Sunderland’s support will get them over the line.”