Keith Hill insists that Tranmere have not given up on their automatic promotion hopes as they prepare to visit rivals Forest Green in the penultimate match of the regular season on Saturday.

Rovers currently lie fifth in the table – tied on 72 points with Morecambe – but four points behind third-placed Bolton Wanderers.

It means that realistically Tranmere will need to win their two remaining matches and rely on Bolton to drop points in both of theirs to sneak into the final promotion spot, but the Prenton Park boss isn’t ruling out anything.

He said: “You’ve got to be prepared to try and make it happen. We’re taking each game as it comes. Our next game is Forest Green. The results (elsewhere) during the week I thought were really good, from a competitive point of view.

“Everyone is still fighting for those places, whether it be automatic promotion or getting into the playoffs. I think it stimulates really good fixtures this weekend.

“We’ve just got to take care of business, but we’re still within a fighting chance of getting automatic promotion. That’s the aim, but if it’s the playoffs we’ll take that as a second opportunity.”

A run of poor results and goal crisis in the absence of injured top-scorer James Vaughan saw Rovers relinquish their briefly-held automatic promotion spot to their Greater Manchester rivals, but Hill believes that his players are beginning to find their way again, just as the season reaches its climax.

He said: “We can’t forget that we’re now on back-to-back wins. Confidence is coming back to the players, so they’re going to be able to express themselves.

“I think the second half (against Barrow), the way that the players did express themselves from an attacking point of view, which helped with the defensive responsibilities, was magnificent.

“We could have extended the lead but while we’re keeping clean sheets, one goal is enough.

“Clean sheets are very important when we’re not free-scoring, but we’re hoping that the free-scoring is coming back.”

In the key Easter Bank Holiday weekend, Rovers lost the initiative when they were thumped 4-0 by Cheltenham Town on Good Friday and then drew with Cambridge United on the Easter Monday, but it is clear that Hill has not forgotten the apparent injustice of the second result.

He added: “We have to emphasis that it’s a team effort to keep a clean sheet. We’re hoping to fire more goals into the back of the net just so we don’t fall victim of what happened against Cambridge, where there was a ghost penalty given.

“It’s one of those things that we couldn’t overcome on the day because we couldn’t get the second goal.

“It could prove influential. It was never a penalty. People can’t debate the fact that was a wrong decision that has massive ramifications for the football club and for the fortunes of Cambridge, for example.

“It’s a tough old test. Forest Green have been top of the league for a substantial amount of time this season, along with the likes of Salford.

“We are well aware of all the positives and negatives of whatever happened to Forest Green over the course of the season.

“We do know what we need to do, but first a foremost we need to be at our courageous best and that’s the aim at the weekend.”

Rovers will once again be without captain Scott Davies and key centre forward Vaughan, but have every other squad player at their disposal.

Going into Saturday’s match on the back of two wins, Hill believes that his players will be able to show their true colours.

He added: “I don’t think performances have really been that bad. Some of the results have been poor or not what’s been expected from this group but I think we’re back on track now and I’m really looking forward to the weekend, when the players I’m sure will express themselves in a football manner.”

Forest Green Rovers v Tranmere Rovers kicks off at 3pm On Saturday, May 1 at The New Lawn Stadium.