Leicester City have not given up on automatic promotion, but are prepared to reach the Premier League the hard way, midfielder Danny Drinkwater has said.
City head to Pride Park today to face Derby in the day's late kick-off looking to close the gap on the top two. which has grown to nine points.
Drinkwater said City must return to winning ways to close that gap, but, if they can't, they will be ready for the play-offs.
"I'd love automatic promotion, but if we can't we'll do it the hard way and get promotion from the play-offs," he said.
"We do desperately need to get out of this stage where we're losing and drawing games – we need to get back to winning.
"It's going to be a tough game – it'll have been two away games on the bounce at probably two of the tougher places to go football-wise ."
City should have grabbed all three points at league leaders Cardiff City on Tuesday, but were pegged back by a late equaliser, however Drinkwater said their performance proved City should be competing for the top two spots.
"We knew we could compete with Cardiff, we should be up there ourselves," he said.
"We put up a good fight and should have come away with the three points.
"That's football isn't it? It's Championship football, it's crazy."
Drinkwater is one of three City players who have started every league game this season, the others are goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and captain Wes Morgan.
He admitted it had been a demanding campaign, both physically and mentally, but he has thoroughly enjoyed it so far.
"It's just about looking after your body and being professional," he said.
"I'm sure Kasper and Wes would tell you the same things. It's about eating and drinking the right things and having rest when you need it.
"This season has flown by, it's gone so fast. I've enjoyed every minute, I know there have been highs and lows, but I've enjoyed it."