ADRIANO Moke has admitted York City must make an onslaught on the National League North play-off positions in the New Year.

The Minstermen have dropped two points off the top-seven pace following last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to second-bottom Boston United.

Defeat also meant Martin Gray’s team are 21 points adrift of top-of-the-table Salford and 12 behind Harrogate Town and Brackley, who currently occupy the respective second and third-placed positions that guarantee a bye straight into the play-off semi-finals and home advantage in those ties.

With the season reaching its midway-point after this weekend’s trip to Telford, Moke believes January will be a crunch month for the Minstermen to outline their promotion credentials following an inconsistent campaign thus far.

After Sean Newton moved swiftly to convince doubting City supporters that the players do care about the club’s fortunes following the Boston defeat, Moke has also echoed his skipper’s sentiments, saying: “Personally, I can’t stand losing.

“I hugely appreciate our fans’ loyalty coming and supporting us home and away, but it hurts me when some say we don’t care, because we do and, when we lose or don’t get a point, I go home and don’t want to talk to anybody until Sunday evening. But, then, we have to start again on Monday morning and work on what we need to.

“Football’s a tough sport, but we’re giving it all we can – believe it or not - and it’s a tough league, even though we know we shouldn’t be in it. Teams are doing their homework and know our strengths and weaknesses and want to beat us because they’re playing York City.

“We’re still thinking about how to beat these teams. What I would say is this league is a really tough one to get out of.

“Most of us players knew that and I said that as soon as we were relegated, but we’ve just got to keep going and see what happens. I just want to get in the play-offs.

“There’s still quite a way to go, but it’s January next month and you really need to go for it then and get result after result. That will be tough – don’t get me wrong – because we’ve seen what can happen at the likes of Boston when you’re a bit off it, but that’s what we need to do.”

City chief Gray has reasoned this week that the team’s players need to start justifying their pedigree with Moke the only individual in last weekend’s starting XI that hasn’t played at Football League level.

The 27-year-old midfielder, meanwhile, confessed that he struggles to provide an explanation for why the side have not fulfilled expectations as yet in 2017/18.

“Results like last Saturday are very frustrating because, no disrespect to Boston, we are a big club and we shouldn’t be in this league,” he argued. “We’re fit lads.

“I see that in training every day and I do ask myself why aren’t we doing better and, to be truthful, I don’t know, because we’re all doing our best, even if people say we aren’t.”

Moke, himself, ended a remarkable 93-game goalscoring drought at Boston, but reckons the spectacular 25-yard strike will now encourage him to try his luck on a more regular basis.

“I was kind of shocked myself when it went in, but it felt good and, hopefully, I will get more now,” he said. “I didn’t really think much when the ball came to me.

“I just thought I’m going to let one go and, lucky enough, it went in. Sometimes, I get myself in positions and, then, think to myself ‘why didn’t I just shoot’, so I’m going to really work on that now, because I want more goals in my game.”

With some feeling the former winger is at his best when driving forward with the ball, Moke went on to explain that the reason he keeps such raids to a minimum from his central-midfield role is down to the need to retain possession in that area of the pitch.

“I know running with the ball is a strength of mine, but it’s sometimes difficult to do that from my position, where I have to try and control the game,” he pointed out. “I just try and play how the manager and team wants me to.

“I have to keep the ball because, if I go on a run and lose it, then we can get hit on the counter and that will look bad on me.”