SHANE Cansdell-Sherriff is hopeful of signing a deal that would see him join Burton Albion permanently next season, but says the focus at the moment is still very much on this campaign.
The Brewers slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Northampton Town on Saturday that delivered a potentially fatal blow to their automatic promotion hopes, with the gap to the top three now six points with four games remaining.
But on-loan defender Cansdell-Sherriff might give Albion fans something to cheer in agreeing a deal to join the club when his Preston North End contract expires this summer.
Asked if he thought something might be agreed soon, he said: “That’d be nice, and I’d hope so.
“We’ll talk to the gaffer soon actually, and try and sort that out.
“It’s been great since I’ve been here, we’ve not lost many, had a lot of wins and draws.”
In fact, Burton have lost just five times in the 33 games in which Cansdell-Sherriff has played since joining on loan from the Lilywhites.
The Australian’s arrival at Burton coincided with increased defensive solidity, but just when they looked to be building another unbeaten run at the right time in the season, a Rob Lainton howler saw them beaten by the struggling Cobblers.
“We didn’t start the game right and we didn’t finish the game right,” said the 31-year-old.
“I don’t know what it was today, we trained well all week, we looked sharp, and coming off the back of last week’s game, we should have been right.
“But for some reason it just wasn’t there, and we were a step behind all over the pitch.
“They were well organised, but they weren’t really pulling us apart or destroying us.
“We just were poor in possession, not retaining the ball, and our balls up to the strikers weren’t good enough, so they weren’t holding it up.”
Cansdell-Sherriff and manager Gary Rowett agreed that Saturday’s performance ranked low among this season’s displays, and though neither side shone, Burton were particularly off-song.
“It’s probably the worst display since I’ve been here, and it’s frustrating,” said the defender.
“Sloppy passes start to set the tone, and you can’t really recover from it.
“Sometimes during the game, it’s hard for us to control things, settle things down and organise plays when the game is moving so fast.
“You can see things better at the back, but then trying to relay that information to the midfielders and strikers when the game is in play can be difficult.”
Asked if the top three was now out of sight, with Chesterfield also enjoying a far superior goal difference to the Brewers, Sherriff said: “Of course not.
“You never give up until it’s mathematically impossible.
“I’ve seen teams fall by the wayside at this point of the season as the pressure gets to them, so we’ve just got to keep going.
“We’ve got four games left, and we’ve got to try and win four games.
“Chesterfield have got to go and play Fleetwood in the last game of the season, which is going to be tough.
“You can’t just say we’ve got no chance at six points down, give up and settle for the play-offs.”
Cansdell-Sherriff’s centre-half partner Ian Sharps, with whom he has developed a good partnership, signed a new deal last week.
“We’ve got a general understanding, and we know how each other play,” he said.
“We know our strengths and weaknesses, so we support each other, and if the ball’s over my head, I know he’s there - and vice versa.
“There’s not many times we miscommunicate or don’t know what the other is doing, so we’ve got a good understanding.”