Cheltenham Town: Yates happy with Robins' progress
MARK Yates says the only thing missing from his hugely progressive reign as Cheltenham Town's manager is promotion to League One.
Yates celebrates three years at the helm today, having taken over just before Christmas in 2009 with the club languishing perilously close to the foot of the League Two table.
The former club captain has since undertaken a complete overhaul of the squad, with only goalkeeper Scott Brown remaining from the ailing group of players he inherited.
Having missed out on promotion in the play-off final at Wembley last season, Yates knows a return to the third tier of English football after a four-season absence would complete a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.
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"I am pleased with where we are after three years, but I'd like to be in League One," Yates said.
"The most important thing is that we haven't suffered a hangover or felt sorry for ourselves after missing out last season.
"We are up there again on merit and nearly halfway through the season.
"I also think we are better for last year's experience, which will stand us in good stead for the next four or five months."
As well as their vastly improved league performance over the past two seasons, Yates has become the first Robins manager to guide them to the third round of the FA Cup in successive seasons.
They played at Tottenham Hotspur last year and can look forward to a televised home match against Everton on January 7.
"It's good to be a lucky manager and we've had Tottenham and Everton at just the right time really," Yates said.
"With the TV coverage this season too, it's really put a smile on the chairman's (Paul Baker) face.
"There has been a feel-good factor here for the past 18 months a lot of people have worked hard to make happen, so hopefully we can kick on again in the next few months.
"Success doesn't happen straightaway and when we first came it was a bit of a mess, with a small squad and a strange mix of personnel. We had no money and it was very hard work.
"But with a lot of effort from everyone at the club, from top to bottom, hopefully things are on the up."
Cheltenham play Wycombe Wanderers at home on Boxing Day before welcoming John Ward's Bristol Rovers to the Abbey Business Stadium next Saturday.
They visit Oxford United on New Year's Day and Yates wants maximum points in the league before they enjoy their big day against Everton.
"This is our bread and butter and we have to do things properly before the FA Cup provides a bit of a buffer before we kick on for the rest of the season," he said.
â All remaining tickets for Cheltenham Town's FA Cup third round clash with Everton on January 7 at the Abbey Business Stadium went on sale this morning at 9am.