Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton admits making the top six is becoming an increasingly tough mission.
Hamilton is concerned at how the league is already split, with a nine point gap between the sixth and seventh placed sides.
As the midway point of the season approaches, his side sit ninth - 12 points back on Crusaders in sixth.
They have a chance to narrow that gap this afternoon when the sides meet at Mourneview Park.
Hamilton is expecting a difficult test - and feels a long-term divide is starting to emerge in the Danske Bank Premiership.
“We are seeing it now already - the top six are pulling away from the rest of the league,” he said.
“That is just the way it is - they are a different quality.
“Finances make a big difference and it is hard to compete with them.
“Having said that, we have given most of them a game this season when we have played them. We have been beaten by the odd goal or got a draw.
“The first time we got outplayed by any of them was probably last Saturday against Linfield (a 3-0 defeat). They were very good - as good as I have seen them in a long time.
“This weekend will be another big test against a good Crusaders side but hopefully we can take a bit of confidence into the game.”
Hamilton was encouraged by Tuesday night’s performance at Dungannon, where Andy Waterworth and Peter Campbell were on target in a 2-0 win.
“We were solid, our shape was good, we pressed the ball well and we created quite a few chances,” he added.
“We got the two goals at a good time - the second one is a quality finish from Peter, a really outstanding finish.
“I keep saying, if goals like that are scored in England, there is a lot made of them, the same in Spain, but that is the way it is here.
“It was as good a finish as you will see and for us, it gave us that cushion to see the game out.
“Picking up another clean sheet was also pleasing.
“We looked solid, which is good for us.
“Hopefully it gives the boys confidence going forward into what is a busy period.”
However, Hamilton is concerned about a growing injury list at Mourneview Park, with Jack O’Mahony likely to be out for six weeks after suffering ankle ligament damage.
“Everything seems to be going against us at the minute,” he added.
“We’re down to the bare bones. We lost Calum Birney late on Tuesday, and Andrew Doyle gets pulled in at the last moment.
“He should never have been on the pitch, but he was excellent, as was Danny Wallace.
“But there is no doubt we are stretched at the moment.”