Howard insists his side's fate remains firmly in their own hands and his team mates thrive in these key encounters.
He told evertonfc.com: "We're keeping pace. I think we need a bit of luck but as long as we keep putting in the performances, and cross our fingers that some of the teams in front of us will drop points.
"If we can start taking points off around those around us, maybe we can make our own luck and make them drop points.
"Big players perform well under pressure, they thrive off it, that's why we're at this level and that's why we're not languishing in the middle or at the bottom and it's all to play for."