DAVID FERGUSON has insisted that York City must show vast improvements if they are to progress past Altrincham in the FA Cup first round this weekend.

City failed to hold onto their one-goal lead after conceding an 82nd-minute Ashley Hemmings equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Kidder-minster on Saturday.

The National League North leaders kept hold of their eight-point gap at the top as other results from the chasing pack went their way.

The gap remains a significant one as York resume their FA Cup campaign with a home tie against Altrincham, who currently sit 18th in the table, just four points adrift of the relegation zone.

Ferguson was keen to stress that the Minstermen must put up a better showing if they are to seal a second round spot.

“If we play to our potential, we should win the game,” said the defender. “We played them in the first game of the season and we did well against them (City won 3-1).

“But, on their day, Altrincham are a very good team.

“Plenty of people know that and we know that as a group of players. We know that we need to be miles better than we were against Kiddy if we are to get through to the next round of the cup.

“I’d love to get through to the next round of the FA Cup. It’d be great to come up against my hometown club Sunderland - I was hoping for that in this round actually.”

Asked whether there was any reduced pressures from playing in a cup game compared to a league game, Ferguson replied: “Every game has its pressures.”

"That’s because of the standards that we set in the dressing room and through the week in training.

“We know that we need to show improvements. We’ll put today down as an off-day, and I think collectively it was.

“Regardless of whether it’s a league game, cup game, we’ll be back at it again against Altrincham.”

York’s strong position at the summit of the table wasn’t diminished at the weekend despite the draw as second-placed Chester drew at Brackley Town while top-five sides Southport and King’s Lynn Town also failed to take maximum points.

Ferguson though saw the Kidderminster result as a missed opportunity to further stretch the gap at the top.

“Other teams around us have dropped points, but we’re looking at this like it’s two points dropped,” he added.

“In the dressing room after the game, we were disappointed and we’ve reacted like it’s a defeat. But those are the standards that we set and we’ll be back at it again next week.

“Collectively, we need to be better. I thought we were very passive and it was just a frustrating afternoon.

“Kiddy did well, they nullified us and dragged our wing-backs into the centre (of the pitch) by playing the diamond in midfield.

“But, we were very passive and that’s what is disappointing. It was an end-to-end game, they broke on us and we broke on them. I think that the result is a fair one in the end.

“Next Sunday we know that we need to be miles better to get through to the next round.”

Ferguson has been one of York’s stand-out players this season and a revelation at left-wing-back. His ability to beat his full-back and deliver a telling cross has been of particular note, though he was critical with his own contribution against Kidderminster.

“Speaking individually, I need to be miles better,” he reflected. “I am someone that is very critical of myself.

“Based on that performance, I think that 90 per cent of my game needs to be better. I thought that my work ethic was there, but on the ball, I need to be miles better.

“I got in a few good areas down the wing but my final ball just wasn’t there today.

“The conditions weren’t ideal, but it was the same for both sides. Sometimes it was hard to judge passes coming into you.

“A few times the switch came over to me and I thought it was going to hold up but it ends up slipping out. But, you’ve got to be able to adapt to those conditions.”