Derby County manager Billy Davies has warned the rest of the play-off contingent that his Rams side will be boosted by the return of key players at a vital point in the season.
The Rams defeated Leeds United 2-0 on Sunday to seal third place in the Champions table and set up a play-off semi-final meeting with Southampton.
The first leg will be played at St Mary's on Saturday before the return clash at Pride Park three days later.
"This past week I have felt the pulse come back to this football club," said Davies.
"We have been without Darren Moore, Michael Johnson, Paul Peschisolido, Marc Edworthy and Stephen Bywater.
"These are senior players and no matter what anyone says, we missed them.
"We were forced to ask young men, relatively inexperienced players, to do a very difficult job at the end of the season and in some cases they were not up to it.
"However, it is no disgrace to finish third in the table and lose out on automatic promotion to the likes of Sunderland and Birmingham."