PHIL Parkinson admitted Altrincham are no longer in the running to be National League North champions after their latest setback, but insisted they are ‘more than capable’ of securing a place in the promotion play-offs.

The Alty boss was forced to concede defeat, in his quest for a second successive title, after seeing league leaders Chorley turn 1-0 half-time arrears into a 4-1 win at Victory Park.

But, in a frank assessment of their second defeat in three games since the turn of the year, he set his players a target they must reach to avoid this season being labelled a failure.

"For me, the league has gone now, because we’ve lost too many games," he said, ahead of Saturday’s home fixture with Southport.

"I thought Stockport on New Year’s Day was one too many, but this latest one certainly was.

"But we are more than capable of securing a play-off place, and that has to be our sole focus between now and the end of the season.

"We have to make sure we go into every game as if it’s a cup final.

"That has to be our approach, because, for me, if we don’t make the play-offs, we will have failed.

"There is no other way of looking at it, because we have shown we are more than good enough.

"Full credit to Chorley for the way they came back in the second half, but I was ever so disappointed with the players.

"I was particularly disappointed with the application and willingness to go out and win from 1-0 up, away from home, at half time.

"We have spoken about each player’s contribution, the way they conducted themselves in terms of their communication and output physically, tactically and technically, and you couldn’t give many of them above a seven.

"We put a lot of trust in them, but one or two have not quite been at it the past couple of weeks, and they’ve been told.

"If they don’t buck their ideas up, there will be players coming in, because I want to progress this club."