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49ers one win from reaching Super Bowl at last

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The Niners possess a huge weapon in running back Frank Gore, and the Falcons ranked 21st in stopping the run this season. - USA TODAY SPORTS FILE PHOTO
  • USA Today Sports File Photo
  • The Niners possess a huge weapon in running back Frank Gore, and the Falcons ranked 21st in stopping the run this season.

Running back Frank Gore arrived for work Monday ready to push through another tough week of game preparation and do everything he can to keep his team playing right into February.

The 49ers are one win from the place they’ve planned to be all along: the Super Bowl.

“Mainly, we’re going to plow ahead,” coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. “We’re going to continue our work ethic and humility.”

The NFC West champion and No. 2-seeded Niners will hit the road Friday for Atlanta to face the top-seeded Falcons in the NFC title game Sunday.

Any topics that strayed from the job at hand, Harbaugh wanted no part of such chatter — whether talk of his big brother John’s Baltimore Ravens’ success or former 49ers coach and current Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

The Niners have been to New Orleans once already back in November and won in the Superdome, and they’re eager to schedule another trip to the Big Easy for the biggest game yet on Feb. 3.

“We all know it’s hard to get back to this point, but we did it,” Gore said. “We also know how that feeling was when we didn’t get the job done last year. We’ll try our best to not get that feeling again.”

This group has been working for the opportunity to reach another championship Sunday since the moment San Francisco’s season ended last January with a mistake-filled 20-17 overtime loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

Notes: Harbaugh said David Akers remains the team’s kicker, while backup Billy Cundiff will stay on the roster. ... All-Pro defensive lineman Justin Smith, who returned Saturday night after missing two games with a partially torn left triceps, got through the game without any problems. ... Harbaugh had no update on left tackle Joe Staley’s bruised right arm. X-rays Saturday were negative.