YORK City manager Gary Mills wants no more hard luck stories as his Blue Square Bet Premier play-off hopefuls head for Alfreton Town this afternoon (3pm).

The Minstermen were unfortunate to lose to champions-elect Fleetwood Town at Bootham Crescent on Saturday after former striker Richard Brodie netted the only goal of the game on 73 minutes.

James Meredith went on to see a header cleared off the line and Matthew Blinkhorn hit a post but, with five fixtures left to play, Mills has reiterated that points are far more important than performances at this stage of the season.

Favourable results elsewhere at the weekend, namely defeats for Southport and Luton, mean City travel to Derbyshire today still fourth in the table.

Alfreton cannot make the play-offs and could only be relegated if they lost all of their remaining four fixtures and Hayes & Yeading win their last quartet of matches.

But the North Street outfit’s 1-0 win at second-placed Wrexham on Friday night represented the Reds’ fourth consecutive win and seventh victory in eight matches.

On his side’s need for points not performances, Mills said: “You don’t always get what you deserve and Saturday’s result was a bit hard on us.

“But I don’t want to be saying we didn’t deserve to lose and getting no points – I’d rather be saying we didn’t deserve to win after taking three points. Staying in the top five is still in our own hands and making sure we stay there, however that happens, is all that matters during the next five games.

“We’ve lost two games on the trot and we aren’t used to that so it’s hard to take but there’s no point in feeling sorry for ourselves.

“We are going to a team in form in Alfreton but we are remaining positive because we are a side that bounces back and, if we play how we did against Fleetwood, we will get enough points in the remaining five games to keep us in that top five.”

Mills suffered another injury blow when former Nottingham Forest midfielder Eugen Bopp dislocated a shoulder on his full debut for the club and, like Scott Kerr, is now expected to be ruled out for the rest of the season.

Joint top-scorer Jason Walker is also unlikely to feature at Alfreton due to his continued hamstring problems, but Chris Smith and Jon Challinor could be available again after illness.

The City boss added: “Jon Challinor has been ill but wasn’t feeling too bad over the weekend. Chris Smith lost a lot of weight and did not feel strong enough to play on Saturday but, with another 48 hours having passed, I am hoping he will be okay for Alfreton.

“I’m also hoping Jason Walker will be available, but I don’t think he will be.”

Mills believed that Brodie’s quality ultimately proved the difference between his side and Fleetwood on Saturday, saying: “I thought we were in the ascendancy before he scored but he took the goal well.

“We were playing another 20 yards up the pitch, which I had asked for at half-time because we had been playing too deep and we were the better team in the second half.

“There wasn’t an abundance of chances but we looked like the side who could get the first goal. They wait for that one opportunity though because they know they have players who can take advantage of it.

“We just needed a bit more quality in those areas because sometimes you only need one moment of quality to win a match.”

Mills gave on-loan Sheffield United utility man Erik Tonne his full league debut as a lone central striker against Fleetwood in an attempt to address the team’s recent lack of potency and, on that tactic, the City chief added: “I thought he did okay.

“We’ve been looking at him as a striker in training because we have a little issue up there at the moment. We need somebody who can get us a couple of goals to take us where we want to go.

“It’s not a major problem but we’ve got to pick the right players to get us those goals. Strikers are there to score goals and we just need a bit more quality and to be more ruthless in the final third.”

Adriano Moké was also given a full half to impress as Bopp’s replacement first as a midfielder and later on the flanks.

On the former Glenn Hoddle Academy graduate’s display, Mills said: “He’s capable of doing a lot of things that other players can’t do but it’s all about where and when you play him. He’s learning the game this season but people get out of their seats when he’s on the ball and I’m the same.

“Sometimes, though, instead of picking the perfect pass out, he just needs to fire the ball in because it can always take three deflections and end up in the back of the net.”