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Yates: It's Going To Be Tough

4 February 2013

Mark Yates expects Tuesday evening's fixture against Bristol Rovers to be a tough, local derby.

Mark Yates speaking to the media ahead of Tuesday evening's local derby against Bristol Rovers.

Saturday's 2-1 victory over Torquay united saw the Robins gaffer introduce three new faces to the starting 11 and a forth utilised as a second half substitute.

"We needed to win, whoever would have played for us. The new faces have settled in well, they did exactly what I thought they would do, they gave us a little bit of a lift and the boys that were selected responded. Everyone put in a good performance, it was just a shame we didn't see out a clean sheet. It's a shame we didn't put the game to bed a lot quicker because I thought we played some really great stuff and created a lot of good chances. We've just got to be a little more ruthless but it was a pleasing start. It's the first of 18 games ticked off and three points towards where we want to get to.

Only two whole days seperate Saturday's fixture against Torquay and Tuesday's against Bristol Rovers and it will be a challenge for Yates' side to spend much time on the training ground. 

"We'll just touch on a few things today that we saw and that we think we can improve on. It will just be a prep day making sure the lads are ready for it and know the bits they need to know about Bristol Rovers.

Victory on Saturday meant Cheltenham Town moved up the table to third place, putting them back into the automatic promotion places.

"Like I've said over the last few months, we haven't really got a head of steam up yet but we're up there fighting. So it's pleasing that we've gone into the top three but no more than that. We want to tick games off, keep winning games  and get as high up the league as possible as we can."

Marlon Pack didn't feature in the squad on Saturday after his proposed move to Swindon fell through on transfer deadline day.

"I haven't spoken to him, we've had a bit of a conversation by text message and he's in this morning. We'll have a chat and he'll train with us. he's our player right now and although he wasn't involved at the weekend he'll be involved tomorrow. Marlon's very mature, I offered him the chance of a couple more days rest but he wants to be involved straight away. 

"Hopefully Luke (Rooney) could be in this morning. We'll just see where we go with that one. I've got to speak to Swindon, we haven't been able to make contact yet so he will be in with us this morning just with a view of training with us." 

The visit of Bristol Rovers also see's the return to Whaddon Road of former manager John Ward who was in charge when Mark was a player at the club.

"Well he got rid of me, not that I hold any grudges. I'm only joking, I speak to John a lot and see him around a lot. He's a very good manager and has done wonders for this club in the past. 

"His side at the moment is very much on the up, very organised, very disciplined like a typical John Ward side. They carry a big threat in wide areas and upfront and they've got loads of energy. It's going to be a really tough game. They're going to be backed by a vociferous away support. They're going to be making lots of noise and trying to intimidate us and I'll need the players to respond to that. I'll need the supporters to respond to that. They've won three out of three games and scored eight goals. It's going to be a tough game.

"I think John, like all good managers, tries to get sides organised. That's certainly how it's appeared over the last few games in particular. I know they're top of the form chart and it would have been better to play them 5 weeks ago when the fixture was meant to have happened. We're buoyed by new arrivals and they're buoyed by their recent results. It should be a good game."

Despite the loss of former Robins captain Alan Bennett last week, Yates' didn't feel his side was one that lacked a leader.

"I thought all three players that came in gave their own little performance in that one. I thought Michael Hector, for such a young player, displayed great leadership qualities at the back and organised us. I had earache just listening to Jason Taylor on the pitch, he was infectious and just what I needed and I thought Benson led the line well with Shaun Harrad. 

"You want leaders out there and you want captains out there. Their role might be slightly different but I'm sure those three and others stepped up markably on Saturday. I thought Keith Lowe was exceptional. I thought Sido had his best game for a little while. Mo had his best game for a while. Jermaine was a constant threat and I thought Russ Penn looked more assured than I've seen him for a long time. That showed with a couple of shot's Russ got on target which is a good start for him."

Billy Jones missed Saturday's game against Torquay with a light thigh injury but could be back in contention for tomorrow night's game.

"He'll be fine, he should be training this morning and we'll see how we go. He could be back in for tomorrow."

Keith Lowe's goal on Saturday was his fifth goal of the season. That tally makes him the third highest goal scorer currently at the club. 

"Maybe he's a wounded animal, he's been in and out and I've picked Sido ahead of him at times and Benno ahead of him at times when he perhaps thought he should have been playing. Maybe he wants to prove me wrong and as long as he performs like he has pretty much all season I don't see him being ousted from the team. I thought he was great the other day, he has that desire to score a score, his movements pretty good and he just wants to attack a ball. He scored Saturday and could've scored 10 minutes before that with a header. He's a good weapon to have but he's been pretty much doing that all season."

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