YORK City manager Martin Gray is optimistic that the win over Curzon Ashton can act as a catalyst to kick-start their season – starting with Saturday’s game at Alfreton Town.

Gray reckons the game could be key to City finding the consistency needed to lift them into promotion contention in National League North.

The combination of The Reds' loss at Salford last week, City’s excellent win against Curzon and the compactness of the table means that both teams have a lot to play for in terms of league position and momentum.

Alfreton’s last win at home and City’s most recent away victory both came two months ago, but Gray is hoping his side can change that at the weekend to spur on their campaign.

He said: “There’s a lot on it for both clubs.

“This game’s so important for everybody. It’s just making sure that you get a win, that’s the priority. We’re not going there with anything else in our mindset, we know that we’ve got to go and win this game.

“The name of the game is consistency. Once we can get a good run together, it’ll allow us to kick on to where we need to be.”

Last Saturday’s 2-1 win put an end to a three-game winless run, and Gray was particularly pleased about the manner and that it came at Bootham Crescent in front of the Minstermen faithful.

“They deserved that," he remarked.

“I thought it could have been so much easier had we been more clinical, but the performance first half was our best performance we’ve had over the five games I’ve had in charge.

“Your weekend’s made or ruined on results and performances. I was delighted with the performance.

“The result was key – we had to get a win and we knew how important that was.”

Gray is aware of the threat that Alfreton pose, having already faced them this season as the Darlington manager in a 4-1 win.

He said: “We conceded very early, but we got back into the game very, very quickly which was important and we went on to being dominant.

“They’ve strengthened their squad since the last time I came across them and it won’t be an easy fixture.”

City, however, have also strengthened their squad, most recently through the addition of keeper Adam Bartlett. Gray is complimentary of his abilities and professionalism, saying: “I’m delighted that he’s come in and been able to give us what we need.

“In my opinion, he’s the best at this level, and the league above as well.

“He comes with great experience, with calmness, his understanding of the game – it’s like signing a top centre-forward.”

For the encounter at North Street, City should have a full squad at their disposal. Adriano Moke has been in training this week after a precautionary substitution on Saturday, while the illness that prevented Jon Parkin from taking charge of the reserves game has not endured.

David Ferguson also returns to the fold having played in the England 'C' squad's 4-0 loss in Slovakia.

Wantaway midfielder Simon Heslop is still training with the team, but loanee keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell has returned to Leeds United, as expected.

Gray is looking to trim the squad further and intimated fringe players could leave even before this weekend, either on loan or permanently.