YOU would have been hard pressed to find a Blackburn Rovers supporter with a smile on their face walking out of Ewood Park on Friday.
And with good reason too, seeing as their side had wasted another golden opportunity, and seemingly a final one, to close the gap on the play-off places.
But back inside the ground Rovers boss Gary Bowyer was clinging to the positives.
The 0-0 draw with basement boys Yeovil Town extended his team’s unbeaten run to nine games while the clean sheet was their 15th of the season.
But perhaps the only positive of what had undeniably been an immensely frustrating afternoon was the failure of Brighton & Hove Albion, Reading and Bournemouth also to win.
Further encouragement came on Saturday when Ipswich Town were beaten at Watford.
Rovers had thrown yet more points away but aside from Nottingham Forest, who returned to winning ways against Birmingham City on Saturday, so too had all of their rivals for sixth spot.
That means, ahead of today’s trip to relegation-threatened Birmingham, Rovers remain with a small chance of making the play-offs.
“There are still three games to go, we’re still in it and in the end it might be a big point,” said Bowyer.
“We’ve got to keep fighting, keep smiling and keep going. At this stage of the season you want the games coming thick and fast and fortunately we’re going to have 24 hours more than Birmingham to recover.
“We’ve got to go there still in a positive frame of mind. That’s the message – keep positive. We’ll keep smiling and working hard.
“We’ve got three games to go and there are going to be more twists.”
Had Rovers managed to find a way to break down Yeovil they would have been two points behind Brighton in sixth instead of their current delicate position, four points off the pace in 11th.
But Paul Robinson, like his manager, is remaining upbeat.
The Rovers goalkeeper said: “We wanted to get six points from these two games this weekend and, although we won’t, results have gone our way and we are still in with a chance.
“We have got to go to Birmingham in a positive frame of mind and win the game there.
“There have been lots and ups downs and there are bound to be a few more. And there have been ups and downs not just this season but the last three or four seasons.
“We are trying to put some pride back into this club.”
Rovers could not have asked for better opponents to return to winning ways this afternoon.
Birmingham have not won any of their last 15 league games at home, a run of eight defeats and seven draws stretching back to October 1 when they beat Millwall.
Rovers, however, have a wretched recent record at St Andrew’s, losing six and drawing one of their last seven outings at the home of the Blues, and Bowyer will again warn his players not to take anything for granted.
“We’ve spoken to the players about expecting easy games,” said Bowyer.
“They may look easy on paper but in the Championship there is no such thing.”