TOM Killick admits Poole Town’s chances of securing automatic promotion to the Conference South are “remote” with his sights now set on securing a play-off place.

Dolphins’ 1-0 defeat at Hemel Hempstead Town on Wednesday left them 30 points behind the Southern League Premier Division leaders with eight games in hand.

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Burnham, Poole’s third game in four days, boss Killick has conceded that finishing top of the division could be a step too far.

He told the Daily Echo: “You never know what’s round the corner so you’ve got to keep fighting but I think our focus is now largely on the play-offs.

“Hemel could have a serious dip in form and we could have a really good surge, but with the number of games we’ve got left to play, I feel they are probably too far away now.

“They look to be in a very powerful position, particularly after Wednesday’s result.

“If we had managed to beat them, perhaps the complexion would have been slightly different. With them winning that game, they are going to be very difficult to catch.

“It’s a possibility that we could finish top but it’s a remote one.”

Killick feels his team should have their eyes fixed on finishing in the play-off spots, a task he feels is far from a foregone conclusion.

The sides that finish second and third have home advantage in the semi-finals but Killick believes it is too early to ponder that prospect.

He said: “It’s going to be a big challenge for us to get into the play-offs and I feel we can’t really look beyond that.

“If you did get to a point with a couple of games to go where you were guaranteed to be in them, that would be when you started to look at whether you could get a home game. At this stage, with so many games to play we just want to try and get in.

“If you do ignore Hemel, it would appear there are six very strong candidates for only four places and that’s if no one comes up from the chasing pack.

“To finish in the best four of those six is a big challenge and that’s what we’ve got to focus on.

“If we manage to achieve it with a couple of games left, we’ll then be fighting for home advantage.

“But I wouldn’t be too worried if we were in the play-offs and didn’t have home advantage, I still think we’d be capable of winning through.”

Striker Jordan Chiedozie was due to have a groin injury assessed last night while Keith Emmerson will probably miss out (ankle) this weekend.

Long-term injury victim Richard Gillespie (heel) remains sidelined.

Dolphins: (from) Thomas, Spetch, Dibba, Whisken, Martin, Brooks, Devlin, Pettefer, Davies, Preston, Bennett, Cann, Chiedozie, Charles, Elliott, Hutchings.