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TWO points behind the play-offs and Rovers really would have thrown their hat into the ring as realistic play-off candidates.

But yet again, we blew it, throwing away what would have been a solid win at Hillsborough against a side who should have been dead and buried.

There is much to learn for this young team.

Time and again we have counted the cost of late equalisers and lost leads.

We are still in the hunt, but it is much less likely than it would be had we held on for all three against Sheffield Wednesday.

With Forest unable to beat an egg and Ipswich also faltering, in-form Rovers – now eight games unbeaten – would have to have been considered one of the four sides most likely to clinch that elusive sixth place alongside Reading, Bournemouth and Brighton.

Realistically that group of four is now down to three, although while the mathematical possibility remains, as I said last week, my hope will continue.

Gary Bowyer quite rightly blasted the players for surrendering such a commanding lead.

He has been criticised for being negative on many occasions this season, but in this instance the players were being far too adventurous in the closing stages while hanging on to a slender lead.

As Paul Wheelock said in his match report yesterday, Rovers have thrown away victories on six occasions after taking the lead this calendar year.

That lack of necessary nous and nerve to see out a game is what will have cost us if we fail to sneak into the top six this season.

It needs to be addressed going forward.

All that being said, credit must go to Bowyer for the visible progress that has been made this term.

The win against QPR saw us surpass last season’s points total.

With four games to go last time we were still embroiled in a battle at the wrong end of the table and still facing potential successive relegations.

So to go from whingeing about that to whingeing about being four points off the play-offs is a sign of how far we have come in a short space of time and credit has to go to Bowyer for that.

He is building a young side and I strongly believe if we fail to make the grade this time around, the experience will serve us well and we will certainly be pushing for promotion next term if we can keep the squad together.