SUTHERLAND maintain a slim, albeit unlikely, chance of sneaking into the finals heading into their last regular season match of the Football NSW Premier League competition against South Coast Wolves on Sunday.
The Sharks sit in sixth spot, one place outside a finals finish and three points behind fifth place Blacktown City FC.
Blacktown will play minor premiers Bonnyrigg White Eagles and need to avoid a heavy defeat to secure their spot, given their seven goal difference buffer against Sutherland.
Sutherland coach Robbie Stanton said the side maintained hope.
"We're still half a chance," Stanton said of a finals finish.
"The goal difference is quite substantial.
"The players are aware of it but we've spoken about just winning this game and whatever happens, happens."
Sutherland have finished the season strongly, winning four of their past five games including games against finals-bound teams Sydney Olympic and Marconi Stallions and a 2-1 victory against Blacktown City FC at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday night.
Their only recent loss was to bottom-placed Parramatta FC.
Stanton said the side's Waratah Cup victory earlier this year had impacted on their league title aspirations.
"We've struggled a little bit," Stanton said.
"We haven't had any distractions recently and I'm more settled with what I've wanted to do with players because they've been available."
If competition points and goal deferential are equal, whoever has scored the most goals will progress to the finals.
Sutherland have scored 34 — five less than Blacktown City.
¦ Sutherland's under-20s will finish the season on top of the premiership ladder having won 13 of their 21 games.
Sutherland are five competition points clear of next-placed Manly United FC, heading into their final regular season match against eighth-placed South Coast Wolves.