Cheltenham Town: Yates says it's time for Goulding to shine
MARK Yates believes next season will be Jeff Goulding's "time to shine" after the striker signed a new one-year contract with Cheltenham Town.
Goulding put pen to paper on his new contract at the Abbey Business Stadium yesterday on a day that Keith Lowe and Bagasan Graham also agreed new deals with the club.
Defender Lowe has agreed terms on a two-year deal, while winger Graham has committed to the Robins for another season.
Robins boss Yates was delighted to have tied the trio to new deals ahead of what is likely to be a busy two weeks looking for new additions ahead of the start of pre-season training on July 12.
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Yates is also backing Goulding to come of age and find his best form in a Cheltenham shirt next season, despite enduring a frustrating campaign last term.
The 28-year-old Londoner scored six goals in 17 starts and 21 substitute appearances despite finding first-team opportunities limited.
But after a summer of hard work building his strength, Yates is confident Goulding can become a key performer in his side as the Robins look to build upon last season's sixth-placed finish.
"We are happy that all three players are signing new contracts and it's a big boost ahead of the new season," Yates said.
"I think Jeff has a lot to offer and he will be ready for a really good season with us.
"I really believe that Jeff can kick on next season and be a better player for the experience he had this year.
"He's spent a lot of time in the gym in the summer and he looks as though he is ready to go.
"It's his time to shine now and I am really looking forward to working with him next season."
After spending most of the second half of the season on the fringes of the squad, Yates sprung a surprise by handing Goulding a Wembley start in the play-off final defeat to Crewe.
But Yates believes the Wembley experience coupled with the frustration of finding himself out of the side will help Goulding become a better player.
"I showed what I thought of Jeff as a player by playing him in the play-off final and I thought he had a good game then," Yates said.
"A lot happened with Jeff last year and I think that he will be a much better player because of those experiences.
"Jeff was performing last season and wasn't doing anything wrong but we needed to freshen things up when we brought Ben Burgess and Steve MacLean in.
"But I think we can both kick on next season and improve and I am sure that Jeff will be a big player for us in looking to do that."
Lowe and Graham have yet to put pen to paper on their new deals but are expected to sign early next week.
The re-signing of Goulding, Lowe and Graham leaves midfielder Luke Summerfield as the only player offered new terms for the new season who has yet to agree a new deal with the club.
â Former Robins goalkeeper Jack Butland is the subject of intense interest from Premier League new boys Southampton.
The Saints are reported to have lodged a £6 million bid with Birmingham City for the 19-year-old goalkeeper who has just returned from international duty at Euro 2012 with England.
Butland has yet to make a senior appearance for the Blues and his entire senior professional career to date has been with the Robins.
â Cheltenham Town have finalised their fixture list for the 2012/13 season.
The club announced earlier this week that their home and away games against Morecambe had been moved to Friday nights.
The Shrimps will visit the Abbey Business Stadium on September 28 with the return taking place at the Globe Arena on January 18.
The Easter trip to Port Vale has also been moved forward and will now be played on Good Friday, March 29.
The away game against Bristol Rovers has been moved back a day and will now be played on Wednesday, October 3.
Both games against Rochdale have also been moved to Friday nights, with the away game moved to December 21 and the home clash taking place on January 25.
The home game against Chesterfield, originally scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 has been moved forward a week to March 5 to avoid a clash with the first day of the National Hunt Festival.