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Yates: Players Are Positive

30 April 2013

Mark Yates knows exactly how tough a place Northampton is to visit but will embrace the challenge.

Mark Yates speaks to the media ahead of Thursday's play-off game against Northampton Town.

"We're all good, we were in Sunday for a warm down and too collect the lads thoughts. They had a day off yesterday and it's back to work today, a few media requests that we're sorting out for our sponsors but come 11 o'clock it's back on the training ground and ready to go.

"We all tried to be positive about Saturday and I thought we played well, particularly first half. I think deep down we all had a realisation it was probably going to be the play-offs. It was important that we did believe we could have got there and in the first half, I thought we played like we did believe that. 

"When the news of the goal came through it sort of deflated us a bit but I thought we showed what a decent side we are. our records been excellent, at home in particular, over the last month or six weeks. We've played and not conceded goals and we're going into the play-offs in good form. The players are positive, they're really positive. Two games in the space of eight days after the last game is probably a good thing, we can just get on with it. On Thursday night, we'll go down there with a game plan if you like. That will be no different to what we normally do and then reassess ready for a home game on Sunday.

"Last years experience at Wembley will hopefully have done us some good. We can prepare and plan properly for this and draw on our experience from that but it's essentially a different group, a different team, against different opposition. It's just how you handle it. People say it's a lottery but we're in there with a chance and we're not looking beyond Thursday at this moment in time. 

"The squad's all fit. We've just got Harry Hooman out and he's been out for quite a little while. I think everybody should be on the training ground today and ready to go.

"I'm not to keen on telling people my team but we'll pick the team we think that's right to go down to Northampton. It's going to be a really tough place, it's going to be a physical bombardment and a battle from their set pieces which are a fantastic weapon for them. We've got to deal with them, we've got to play our way and we'll have to deal with crowd. They'll have a big noisy crowd behind them, I've been there when it's been a decent following there and they really get behind the team. So we need our supporters and we need the players to embrace the situation, embrace the challenge and really have a go at it."

The Robins have already beaten Northampton twice this season in the league, winning 3-2 away from home and 1-0 at the Abbey Business Stadium.

"Hopefully, but it's really not something we're thinking about too much. We had two positive results against them and they were very tough games that could have gone either way. We deserved to win both games, their challenge will be to try and overturn that I'm sure. We've just got to take care of ourselves, nothing in the past that's gone on will influence Thursday night or Sunday. It will just be about making sure we turn up on the night and perform well."

Mark Yates is good friends with Northampton Manager Aidy Boothroyd.

"We've got a lot of time for each other, that said he'll want to beat me and I'll want to beat him. That's just the way it is and I would say the fact we're mates, it doesn't really do anything for me but perhaps it makes me want to beat him even more."

The Robins fifth place finish means the second leg of the play-off final is a home game.

"People say there is, people in the Champions league games always want that home-leg second. Maybe there is something in it but we can't think like that.We've got to go there on Thursday night and deal with whatever they throw at us, try and play are game and then we'll reassess for Sunday.

"We've got to decide how we want to play, we've got a few different ways of playing. We need everyone fit and available and the whole group pulling together like they have been all season. I'll pick a team that can go there and win, whatever formation I play, whatever players I pick, I'll pick a team to win the game.

"We're confident in our own ability. We're confident in the players turning up in the right frame of mind and putting in a good performance. With a little bit of luck anything can happen but with 180 minutes to play there's still a lot of to be done. We know it's going to be tough. We know we've got to stand up for them, we know they get lots of crosses and long throws and set pieces in. We've got to deal with that. It's all to play for. 

"We could potentially be two or three weeks behind where you would like to be, in terms of preparing for next season. With Rotherham going to Las Vegas in a couple of weeks time I'm sure the players would rather do that. We are where we are, we've got a great opportunity to try and get out of the division  We always knew it was a backup, we always knew it was going to be really tough to get out of the division automatically. "

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