Seven points adrift the side at the summit of the Glo Premier League table and there is a renewed sense of optimism the Asante Kotoko camp as the season nears the closing stages.
The champions, third on the log might be playing catch up for now but are hopeful of pushing the league down to the wire with the leaders showing signs of a slump in form.
Amid the tension and the uncertainty that confronts Hearts of Oak, who have seen their 14-point lead at the beginning of the second round whittle down to six, Kotoko hope to pile on the pressure from third position when they travel to the Coronation Park to meet Berekum Chelsea on Wednesday.
With six games left to finish the season, new coach, Nii Noi Thompson would be under considerable pressure as he tries to pull Hearts away from the chasing pack.
Thompson, who first game after taking over from the Serbian Kosta Papic ended in a draw, would be up for another tough test when the Phobians visit the Swedru Park where they play Gamba All Blacks who are fretting with relegation.
Both sides at this stage of the league would dread dropping any point but the tie is expected to produce a winner.
Heart of Lions who are also chasing the leaders closely from second would also be on the road when they travel to the Sekondi Sports Stadium to test the resolve of another relegation battling side, Hasaacas.
King Faisal, still in the hunt for a continental place would take on Kessben FC at the Baba Yara Stadium with All Stars hosting Real Tamale United to the Wa Park.
AshantiGold would need all three points when they play Arsenals at the Len Clay Stadium.
The switch to the Carl Reindorf grounds appears to have revived Liberty Professionals’ hopes of moving out of the drop net. The Dansoman-based side would play Eleven Wise at home.
Bottom placed Sporting Mirren still hopeful of playing in the elite division next season would take on Tema Youth at the Ohene Djan Stadium.