JIM Harvey has warned his Altrincham players to follow orders or suffer the consequences after another defeat left them nine points adrift of safety in National League North.

After seeing on-loan Fleetwood midfielder Nick Haughton inspire Salford City to a 2-0 win at The J.Davidson Stadium, Harvey admitted his side would struggle to pull out of their recent tailspin unless they started playing to instructions.

"Their little number 10 is a really good player who caused us problems, but he will if you give him that much space," said the Alty boss.

"The instruction went out to tighten up on him, but it wasn't carried out.

"We didn't do the job required on him, and that's why I had to make a change midway through the first half.

"It was even mentioned in the pre-match talk that he was likely to be the main threat and we had to be aware of it but we just didn't deal with it well enough and that was disappointing.

"I was hoping we were going to turn it round here sooner rather than later, but the way things are looking it's going to be a tough job.

"Unless we realise that and start playing to instruction, I don't think it's going to get better quickly.

"There is talent there but we have to take ownership of our performances.

"I know if I'd been out there playing I wouldn't have been happy and would have had a few words.

"I wouldn't have been happy with myself either and would want to do better next week.

"That's what we need – everyone to up their game and follow instructions more closely.

"I'm still searching for a team and formation that we can come together with and develop.

"At the moment, I'm struggling to find that.

"In the meantime, we need to win our battles all over the park then be smarter in possession."

Alty, who gave a debut to new centre-back Luis Morrison-Derbyshire last weekend, have drawn Blyth Spartans at home in the FA Trophy third qualifying round a week on Saturday.