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Baker: Full Support

4 February 2014

Cheltenham Town chairman Paul Baker has been speaking with this week.

Cheltenham Town chairman Paul Baker has thrown his full support behind Mark Yates this week in an interview with

Mark Yates revealed last week that he was far down the line with new contract negotiations at the Abbey Business Stadium and Paul Baker sat down with us earlier this week to discuss contracts, performances and the 2013-14 season in general.

Paul confirmed to us that the board of directors were keen to both hand Mark Yates and Neil Howarth extended contracts with the current deals set to expire in the summer.

"Mark and Neil are the third longest serving managerial partnership in English football," said Paul.

"Managerial appointments are the most important decision we are going to make and I just think what Mark and Neil have done for the club since their appointment is very difficult to fault. There have been far more positives than negatives. Management teams will make mistakes and they will have good seasons as well as bad seasons.

"After two seasons in the play-offs no-one has a right to expect that Mark should deliver yet again a play-off or automatic position when you've got a budget that indicates you should be halfway. I think Mark and Neil have earned the right to be talking about an extra contract and I think it's right for us to be giving them that vote of confidence and security and that is what I hope we will be concluding in the next few weeks."

Since being appointed manager of Cheltenham Town in December 2009, Mark Yates has helped steer the club away from relegation and into two play-off campaigns. That four years has also seen two FA Cup third round clashes versus Tottenham and Everton as well as a League Cup second round match away at West Ham earlier this season.

This season's form however has not matched the standards of previous years but Paul believes Mark Yates has almost been a victim of his own success in recent campaigns.

"In a way, Mark's problem has been that he was successful relatively early!

"John Ward took us a while to get to that point (the play-offs) whereas Mark, after saving us from what looked like relegation in what was an awful era for the football club, then got two successive play-off positions so he set his stall out really high and actually it's very difficult to get better year on year.

"We all strive to get better and the challenge for John Ward was to save us, get mid-table and then get us up and he did that over a period of time but Mark actually jumped the gun a bit and got us into the play-offs earlier than anyone expected. He then did it again and then, of course, we haven't managed to do that this season. It's still not too late to turn things around and there are still a lot of games to play but I'm a realist and if we can get into those play-off positions now then it would be an incredible achievement."

You can watch Paul's interview using the video player above or head over to the official Cheltenham Town YouTube channel here.

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