Cheltenham Town: Loan pair Ben Burgess and Steve MacLean handed double challenge
MARK Yates has challenged new front pair Ben Burgess and Steve MacLean to fire Cheltenham Town into League One – and earn themselves permanent deals.
Both players arrived on last Thursday’s loan deadline day, signing up until the end of the season in a bid to end the Robins’ recent barren spell in front of goal.
They are both contracted to League One clubs, with Burgess at Notts County and MacLean on Yeovil Town’s books, but Yates said the remaining seven matches of the season – as well as possible play-off games – will determine if they have a longer-term future at the Abbey Business Stadium.
“They are playing for the next seven games and we’ll see where we are after that and beyond,” Yates said.
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“Of course permanent contracts have been discussed because we are always looking at players and we think we have two good ones here.
“It remains to be seen how long they stay, but they have fitted in well within the group and they can be pleased with their performances against Oxford.”
Burgess partnered Darryl Duffy up front in last Saturday’s 0-0 draw, with MacLean playing as a link man at the top of the midfield diamond.
Plenty of chances were created, but Cheltenham only forced goalkeeper Ryan Clarke into one notable save as he turned a looping header from Duffy over the bar in the first half.
Yates knows Cheltenham must rediscover their attacking touch if they are to remain in the promotion shake-up, starting with tomorrow night’s trip to Southend United.
“We have gone four games without scoring, but we now want to get more bodies in the box and be more dynamic. We did everything but score against Oxford,” Yates said.
“Ben had a couple of half chances but he was a nuisance, a presence and a threat and I think he linked well with Darryl throughout.
“Steve has played in that role before but he can also play up top when I need him to.
“We now have 21 players, with two more when Theo Lewis and Danny Andrew return from loan spells, and there is still belief in the group.”
• Robins groundsman Terry Roberts has been nominated for the League Two groundsman of the year award. Judging was due to take place today.
• Cheltenham have appointed Marie Carter as marketing manager. She spent seven years as commercial manager before taking a three-year break to spend time with her young family.