Derby have slipped down the Championship table after failing to win any of their last six fixtures and Karanka clearly feels that their poor form is set to cost them.
The Spanish manager has suggested that Bournemouth, Norwich City and Watford are all ahead of them in the race for promotion, with his own side also in the thick of the fight for a top-two spot.
“I thought a month ago that Derby would be [promoted] but they have a lot of injured players and they are losing games," he said.
“Now Bournemouth with Norwich are the teams which have the better fixtures. Bournemouth are one of the biggest candidates (for promotion)."
Can Derby still be promoted?
Karanka's words hammer home the reality of the situation for Derby, but to write them off completely would be foolish.
The Rams have one of the most dangerous squads in the Championship and if they can find their top form they still stand a chance of claiming a top-two spot.
Derby have struggled without a striker, but Darren Bent returned in their most recent fixture and that will be a major boost for the side.
They also have a run of fixtures against some of the lower placed teams in the Championshp coming up and if they can prove their class then it wouldn't too surprising to see Derby competing for a top-two place again come May, considering they are still only five points away.