Cardiff City are running out of opportunities to salvage their Premier League status ahead of an away game at Southampton on Saturday.
Last month's 3-1 win over fellow strugglers Fulham represents the only victory in 10 games for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, who have lost three of their last four and suffered a damaging 3-0 home reverse to Crystal Palace last time out.
As a result, the Welsh team lie second-bottom of the table and six points from safety with five matches remaining.
The two teams immediately above Cardiff - Fulham and Norwich City - square off in a vital clash this weekend, meaning Solskjaer's men stand to enjoy full value from a victory on the south coast, with the prospect of their nearest rivals taking points off one another.
However, that looks a tall order against a Southampton side playing with a freedom allowed by a league position of eighth, and Solskjaer will have to cope without winger Craig Noone.
The 26-year-old was injured against Palace and is not expected to feature again this season.
One man definitely out for the rest of the campaign is luckless Southampton forward Jay Rodriguez, who saw his hopes of making England's FIFA World Cup squad cruelly ended when he ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament at Manchester City last weekend.
Rodriguez has scored 15 Premier League goals this season and his absence is a major blow to Southampton as they aim to finish the season on a high note.
However, a trio of Mauricio Pochettino's players - striker Rickie Lambert, playmaker Adam Lallana and full-back Luke Shaw - remain very much in contention to gain a World Cup place.
All three impressed at the Etihad Stadium, where Southampton dominated for long periods in the first half before falling to a 4-1 defeat against Manuel Pellegrini's title chasers.
Lambert could certainly serve to cure a long-standing problem for England at major tournaments - his penalty in Manchester was his 34th successful spot-kick in as many attempts.
Following a brief slump in which they sustained three consecutive defeats in all competitions, Pochettino's team have won three of their last five matches and scored 12 times during this period.
Southampton will no doubt fancy continuing their free-scoring form as they come up against a Cardiff side struggling desperately to keep goals out.
Prior to their 3-0 loss against Palace, Cardiff conceded three at West Brom and six at home to Liverpool, although they did at least score three goals in each of those games.
It remains to be seen whether goalkeeper Artur Boruc (back) and forward Gaston Ramirez (ankle) will feature for Southampton after both men missed the game against City.
|Coach: M. Pochettino|
for G. Ramírez 66'
for C. Chambers 67'
for J. Cork 78'
|Thiago would´ve stayed at Barca under Pep|
|Copa Libertadores Review: Tigres advance to quarters|
|Houston Dynamo 0 San Jose Earthquakes 1: Kinnear claims triumphant Texas return|
|Martinez: Everton got carried away during unbeaten run|
|Neymar has flourished with captaincy - Dunga|
|A-League Preview: Victory, City to meet in biggest Melbourne derby|
|Ramos: Real Madrid in box seat|
|´Bale gave Real nothing´ - Keane|
|Hill backs Ramsey for QPR job|
|Ancelotti confident of Real revival|
|Allegri rues late Llorente miss in Juve triumph|
|Juve sent a warning - Pirlo|
|Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2 Dundee United 1: Ofere and Williams keep European dream alive|
|Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Spot-on Tevez earns first-leg lead|
|Sturridge hip surgery a success|
|Coloccini calls for unity as Newcastle target survival|
|Doumbia cleared to make Milan trip|
|Harper calls for Hull unity|
|Guardiola not distracted by Barca homecoming|
|No defence can stop Barca star Messi - Guardiola|
|Neuer ready to face Barca strike trio|
|Napoli v Dnipro: Benitez seeks to make experience count|
|Jones ready for United return|
|Injury rules Oscar out of Brazil´s Copa squad|
|Mazinho proud ahead of Barca v Bayern contest|
|Sevilla v Fiorentina: Kolodziejczak confident ahead of semi-final test|
|Skipper Soriano set for Villarreal return|
|Martinez wary of Pienaar risk|
|AFC Champions League Review: Holders Western Sydney out due to last-gasp Seoul winner|
|Barca focused ahead of Pep return - Luis Enrique|
|Messi has ´no problem´ with Luis Enrique|
|Relegated Tranmere appoint Brabin|
|Ujah agrees Werder transfer|
|Magath backs Guardiola to remain at Bayern|
|Mathieu out of Bayern clash|
|Burnley appeal Duff dismissal|
|Setif drawn in Algeria-heavy Champions League group|
|Terry calls for new Drogba deal|
|Saul agrees bumper Atletico deal|
|Arsenal need to finish season strongly - Wenger|
|New Bilbao deal for Gurpegi|
|Pepe puts Morata friendship aside for Champions League match-up|
|Terry: Too long between titles|
|Hazard can be as good as Messi, Ronaldo - Fabregas|
|Carlisle ´deeply ashamed´ about suicide attempt|
|Tevez planning to win Champions League with Juve|
|Blatter ´knows absolutely nothing´ - Maradona|
|Allegri: Ancelotti a smart man|
|Sunderland academy coach to manage Oldham|
|Primeira Liga Review: Braga secure Europa League berth|
|Bruce backing Hull to respond against Burnley|
|Almeria 2 Celta Vigo 2: Bifouma, Zongo inspire hosts´ comeback|
|Arsenal can mount title bid - Wenger|
|Turkish Super Lig Review: Besiktas and Galatasaray remain locked at the top|
|Cagliari 4 Parma 0: Festa revival back in gear|
|Hull City 1 Arsenal 3: Sanchez at the double as visitors close on second|
|Blackpool - Huddersfield game will not be finished|
|Allegri vindicated by Juventus success|
|Russian Premier League Review: Krasnodar close the gap as Zenit slip up|
|Al Ahly dismiss Garrido|
|MLS Preview: Kinnear returns to Dynamo with Earthquakes|
|Ancelotti all out for victory against Juventus|
|Ramires recovering well after sickness|
|Prince Ali would back rival FIFA candidate to oust Blatter|
|Barcelona v Bayern Munich: Guardiola makes Camp Nou return|
|Kruse a target for Wolfsburg - Allofs|
|Fletcher backing Bournemouth to ´surprise a few´|
|Bremen agree deal with Fritz|
|Carver gets Newcastle backing|
|Blaszczykowski suffers groin tear|
|Boateng warns of Barca ´storm´|
|Brouwers agrees Gladbach extension|
|Benzema to miss Turin trip|
|England great Jimmy Greaves suffers stroke|
|Cabaye concerned by bit-part role at PSG|
|Parry: Anfield expansion a major boost|
|Ki targets Arsenal win and seventh spot|
|Pirlo eyes potential Champions League swansong|
|Mourinho rounds on critics after clinching title|
|Henderson: Liverpool can push on without Gerrard|
|Lack of goals a concern for Van Gaal|
|Hard to keep Benteke - Bacuna|
|MLS Review: Sporting KC end Chicago streak, Martins brace furthers NYC pain|
|Copa Libertadores Preview: River eye revenge in Superclasico|
|Garcia lauds ´impressive´ Roma|
|Pavon goal scores him a BMW for a month|
|Boca beat River in Superclasico|
|Inzaghi to blood youth after third straight Milan defeat|
|Blanc urges PSG to ´remain vigilant´|