"WE have got to win on Saturday. End of."

So said assistant manager Micky Cummins ahead of York City's National League North fixture against Hereford this weekend.

The Minstermen come into the game off the back of an "uncharacteristic" 3-1 defeat at high-flying rivals Boston United, who sit six points behind second-placed York now.

Frank Mulhern, Brad Abbott and Andi Thanoj scored to sink a flat York performance - made all the more unusual given the dynamic 4-2 win over Chester the week before.

Cummins has spoken positively about York's response to the defeat but pointed out that there are players waiting in the wings pushing for a starting place.

York welcome Hereford to Bootham Crescent on Saturday (3pm). The 17-placed Bulls have recently appointed Josh Gowling as interim manager with Russell Slade exiting the club towards the end of January.

Asked how York put right the performance from Saturday, Cummins said: "You look for a response. You consign that performance to the history books, try to not bring it up too much and focus on getting the performance out of them for Hereford.

"A different prospect, it's a transitional period for them. Two from the squad of 16 from when we played them featured on Saturday.

"The new manager is trying to make his own mark, and we've got to bounce back.

"We have got to win on Saturday. End of."

On the sharp contrast between Chester and Boston games, Cummins commented: "You could say chalk and cheese considering the good performance at home and the good work leading up to Boston.

"Then to perform the way we did - not faulting the lads' effort and application - they just got to everything first, they were on top of us, dominating the middle of the park and second balls.

"It was uncharacteristic of us.

"We're looking for a response.

"Straight away, training this week has been good and at a good tempo. The people who haven't been involved, there are places up for grabs.

"I think everybody's responded really well."

At the start of December, York and Hereford shared a 2-2 draw at Edgar Street. Alex Kempster's ninth-minute goal gave York a one-goal lead at the break.

But Peter Vincenti and Reece Styche netted to flip the game in the hosts' favour, and City needed an 80th-minute Jordan Burrow finish to rescue a point.

"We got a foothold in the game then we let that slip," said Cummins on the stalemate and added of the return fixture: "We've to approach it the way we have most of our home games.

"We've got to go and score, make entries into the final third, get shots and crosses in, work on set pieces - be relentless in that fact.

"There are opportunities for players to come in and stake a claim.

"As an 11, we're only as good as our last performance. They know that they're under pressure and the lads that do come in know they need to stay in the team.

"We always count on ourselves to take that opportunity, to start fast, with Kurt banging the goals in and Jordan as solid as ever.

"We've got options on the bench. We might even start three strikers.

"We've got to be on the front foot and not allow them to get a foothold.

"We've got to have nine, 10 players on the pitch winning their individual battles to earn the right to say we were the better team."

That December 3 outing was Kempster's most recent goal of this season. The 24-year-old started the campaign in blazing goalscoring form and netted eight league goals between the early season trip to Blyth Spartans and Hereford.

He has started the last three games on the bench but has been back by manager Steve Watson to get back to his best.

Cummins said: "Alex has trained really well the last couple of weeks. He had a bit of a blip but he's back at it now.

"Every training session, Dan Maguire's looking stronger and sharper.

"There are players breathing down the necks of the lads in the starting 11."