Cheltenham Town: Yates eyes eight new signings
MARK Yates is hopeful of adding as many as eight new faces to his Cheltenham Town squad for the club's League Two promotion push next term.
The Robins boss is currently busy preparing for the start of pre-season training on July 12 by which time he hopes to have a number of new additions to his squad in place.
And by the time the transfer window slams shut at the end of August, the Robins boss wants to have a squad as big as 22 players ready for the rigours of the League Two campaign.
He currently has 11 players tied down to contracts for next term, while four others are mulling over offers to extend their stays at the Abbey Business Stadium.
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Defender Keith Lowe, winger Bagasan Graham and striker Jeff Goulding are all expected to sign new deals, while the future of midfielder Luke Summerfield is less certain amid strong interest from League One club Shrewsbury Town.
If Summerfield does depart, that would leave Yates with as many as eight places to fill in his squad in the next two months with the Robins boss already busy working away in a bid to make his first additions.
"I am a fair way down the line with a few players, but I am more than happy to take my time in getting it done," Yates said.
"We've taken our time in the last two years and not rushed into things and we'll do that again this year.
"We are trying to get the good base down like we had last year and just improve the squad if we can.
"Sometimes to improve it does take a little bit of time and we're in no rush.
"By the end of the transfer window I want a maximum squad of 22 players so we have a fair bit of work to do."
Yates has become something of an expert in discovering and developing non-League players in recent seasons, but said he will be exploring all avenues when looking to improve his squad.
He is also keen to explore the long-term loan market after the undoubted success from the deals for Jack Butland, Luke Garbutt and Jimmy Spencer last term.
Age will also be no barrier, with Yates willing to take a chance on youth as well as look for proven and experienced Football League performers.
"We're trying to get as good players to the club as we can regardless of their background or where they've been," he said.
"So whether that's an 18 or 19-year-old from a Premier League or Championship club that fits in perfectly into what we're trying to do then so be it.
"If it means that it's an experienced 28-year-old that will improve us then we will also do that deal.
"There is no criteria as to what we want to do we just want to bring good, hungry players with the desire to improve us and improve themselves. That's what we're about.
"There will be a couple of long-term loans more than likely and those will be the ones that are at the end of the transfer window."
Under contract 11: Scott Brown, Danny Andrew, Steve Elliott, Marlon Pack, Darryl Duffy, Alan Bennett, Russ Penn, Jermaine McGlashan, Sido Jombati, Kaid Mohamed, Harry Hooman
Offered new terms, four: Keith Lowe, Jeff Goulding, Bagasan Graham, Luke Summerfield.
â Cheltenham Town's Capital One Cup first round clash with the MK Dons will be played on Saturday, August 11 (3pm).
The Robins have made the decision as they believe they will attract a larger crowd than if the game was played on a Tuesday night as originally scheduled.
The Capital One Cup kicks-off the season due to the Football League fixture list being pushed back a week to avoid a clash with the Olympic Games.
Cheltenham Town were due to play tenants Gloucester City on August 11 and that game will now be re-scheduled.
*Meanwhile even on a busman’s holiday, Mark Yates will keep his ear to the League Two ground.
The Robins boss will take in England’s Euro 2012 quarter-final clash with Italy in Kiev tomorrow. But he will not be switching off entirely – especially his phone.
Yates will jet out to Ukraine with assistant manager Neil Howarth and club secretary Paul Godfrey thanks to tickets from former loan goalkeeper Jack Butland.
“Paul’s sorted us some flights and Jack has sorted the tickets which is nice,” Yates said. “We will go out there and try to enjoy the experience and sample the atmosphere of the big tournament.
“But it’s not about doing any covert scouting missions, I don’t think any of the players will be available to us!
“It’s about supporting England and having a couple of beers as well. But the phone will still be on.”