Gary O'Neil is confident Middlesbrough are close to securing their Premier League status.
The midfielder, who joined Boro from Pompey last summer, believes he and his team-mates only need to record four more points to beat the drop.
Boro remain unbeaten since crashing out of the FA Cup quarter-finals to Cardiff at the beginning of March and that run has seen Gareth Southgate's side secure away points against Aston Villa and Arsenal.
And O'Neil believes 17th-placed Birmingham and Bolton - who occupy the final place in the drop zone - will now find it tough to catch Boro following Saturday's 1-0 win over Derby.
"We have a nice little cushion now," O'Neil said in the Daily Star.
"We would have taken five points from our last four games considering we had Aston Villa and then Arsenal away.
"If we get another four or five points, it's going to be difficult for either Bolton or Birmingham to catch us."
Meanwhile, O'Neil admits he had never heard of defender David Wheater before he moved to The Riverside.
But, O'Neil insists Wheater, who was named in Fabio Capello's initial 30-man squad for the friendly with France on Wednesday before being omitted from the revised list - is now one of Boro's star performers.
"David's had a fantastic season, he's been fantastic for us," O'Neil added in the Daily Mail.
"To be honest, I hadn't heard if him at all before I came up to Middlesbrough.
"He's come through in a massive way and I think everyone in the country knows who he is now."