Phil Parkinson set his Altrincham players the toughest of New Year tests after challenging them to prove him wrong over their play-off credentials.

Alty extended their unbeaten run to eight games after adding an eventful 2-2 New Year’s Day draw with FC Halifax Town at The Shay to a dramatic home win against their West Yorkshire rivals on Boxing Day.

It left them just two points away from a play-off place, but Parkinson feels a killer instinct is still required after they led twice but failed to finish off Halifax in a dramatic finale that included a disallowed Alty goal in added time.

“I’m frustrated with that late decision, because so many people have told me it wasn’t offside,”said the Alty boss. “But when you look at the chances we had, we should have been home and dry by then.

“They had a spell of possession and were starting to get on top just before their first equaliser, but we made changes that swung the game back in our favour and absolutely destroyed them on chances created.

“I am ever so proud of the players, how they are performing and the way they are taking the club forward, and, in many respects, it was a good result. But if we want to get to where everyone connected with this club wants us to be, and people are starting to talk about the play-offs .. well, play-off teams win games like this one.

“I have been part of play-off and championship-winning teams, and you need a cut-throat side to your game. If we can add that, we will be there. Maybe we are not quite there yet, but that’s for the players to ram down my throat and show we are.”

Parkinson reflected on another eye-catching performance from on-loan Fleetwood forward Chris Conn-Clarke, as Alty prepared for the first of three successive home games, with Bromley the visitors on Saturday.

“We’ve got him until the end of January and will make use of him as much as we can,” he said.