BRYAN HUGHES insists Wrexham's only focus must be trying to secure a play-off place and forget about any other targets.

Wrexham's promotion challenge is faltering badly and the Reds suffered a fourth defeat in five National League outings as they lost 4-3 at Ebbsfleet United on Saturday.

Still fourth in the table with results elsewhere largely favourable, Wrexham have five games remaining to seal a top-seven finish.

Although finishing as high as possible gives teams a better chances in the play-offs, Hughes says his side just have to make sure they book their place.

"The management team are trying," said Hughes. "These players get the best of everything, we are trying to look after them to get us over the line this year.

"But for whatever reason, away from home it is not quite working.

"We are in a good position. Okay, we are in a bit of a stumbling block at the moment but we have got five games now to put it right.

"People are looking at automatic promotion, looking at second or third - we have to forget that.

"We can only affect the next game and the next port of call for us is trying to secure a place in the play-offs, and then build from there."

Wrexham trailed 3-0 at the break following a dreadful first half performance, with Hughes making a triple substitution for the second period.

Goals from substitute Stuart Beavon and Shaun Pearson made it 3-2 and gave hope of an unlikely comeback before Ebbsfleet made sure of victory.

Hughes wants to see a repeat of that improved second half display in the remaining games and he believes one win, which will take Wrexham up to 75 points, will clinch a play-off spot.

"What I have got to look for now is the people who want it in this group," said Hughes.

"I have said many times I don't want us to dwell on last season.

"You can feel it around the place. We need people who are positive and we need people to get right behind these players now.

"In my eyes we have got a five game mini-league to secure a place in the play-offs.

"That is our only aim now. I think if we had won that might have been good enough but we haven't.

"We have got to use that second half performance, the energy levels and commitment that the players showed at times, and take that into the next five games."

There was uncertainty ahead of kick-off that the game would go ahead with the Ebbsfleet players not coming out for the warm-up amid a pay dispute.

The match started on time and Wrexham were second best as Ebbsfleet took the game to the visitors.

"I would like to say it didn't affect us but then we concede in the first 10 minutes," said Hughes.

"It was a strange one them not coming out to do the warm-up. We were aware of what was going on.

"We can't affect what is going on in other people's changing room, what is going on at Ebbsfleet; all we can do is try and affect what we are doing and I said that to the players.

"To start with we looked a bit vulnerable, we looked a bit lethargic.

"Maybe it did play a part in it but they didn't look vulnerable. They put the ball in areas that was going to hurt us and we didn't have enough to deal with that.

"Did it affect us or not? Possibly. As a management team we tried our best not to make it affect the players.

"We went about our business the way we do every game. Our warm-up was the same, team-talk and everything in the dressing room was geared towards us starting on a normal afternoon.

"The only difference was what Ebbsfleet do; whether that had a bearing on it, people can judge that."