Cheltenham Town video: Mark Yates vows to reverse Robins' ailing fortunes
MARK Yates says he is under no illusions about the size of the task he faces in turning around Cheltenham Town's season.
The Robins take on sixth-placed Morecambe at the Abbey Business Stadium this evening (7.45pm), still smarting from Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Rochdale, who scored twice in the final 10 minutes to pile on the misery for Yates' team.
Cheltenham lie 17th after 12 matches this term and they have only claimed one League victory in front of their fans.
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Yates has led Cheltenham to the play-offs in each of the last two seasons, massively raising expectation levels.
He stressed that Cheltenham have no divine right to be in the promotion shake-up for a third successive campaign, but he vowed to get it right and lead a charge up the table.
"We have not had the best of starts and we are over a quarter of the way into the season so we are not kidding ourselves that in our current form we are going to climb the table," Yates said.
"You always want to start well, be at the right end of the table and stay there, but we have a new group here and there is no divine right to be in the top seven as far bigger clubs than us are finding out this season.
"We have to keep working and our division is so tight that we are 11 points away from the top of the table, which over the course of the next 34 games is nothing.
"But we have to find ways to improve and we are not under any false illusions that we simply deserve to be in the top seven all season.
"There are 16 teams above us at the moment and we have to earn that right to climb back up there."
Morecambe are one point off the top of the table and tall winger Kevin Ellison, who has been a constant thorn in Cheltenham's side in recent years, has already chipped in with five goals.
"Their manager Jim Bentley is a top bloke and the way they have started will mean they feel they can achieve something this season," Yates said.
"They have had some good results of late, they have a goal threat in them and they are big, strong and organised so we have to be able to deal with that and concentrate for the full 90 minutes."
Yates will make a late decision on left-back Craig Braham-Barrett, who received a nasty blow to the face from Rochdale's Jamie Allen in the 11th minute on Saturday. He has been for an X-ray to discover the extend of the damage to his nose, but Yates was hopeful he would be fit to play.
If the summer signing from Macclesfield Town does not make it, the vastly experienced Steve Elliott could be in line for a recall at centre-half after four matches on the bench.
"Steve will come into the reckoning if Craig doesn't make it," Yates said.
"He needed a breather, but when he comes back in he'll be ready.
"Craig is sore and he's been to the hospital so we'll see how he is physically and mentally, but hopefully it won't stop him playing."
Winger Ashley Vincent, who is yet to make an impact since returning to the club from Port Vale in July, has started a mini 'pre-season' with fitness coach Ian Hutton in a bid to rediscover his sharpness.
Yates is expected to make changes to his side tonight, with the likes of David Noble and Sam Deering pushing for recalls and winger Jermaine McGlashan unlikely to be used in an attacking central midfield role after two appearances there.
"I think having Jermaine there worked better away from home at Dagenham (2-1 victory)," Yates said.
"He was slipping and sliding all over the place on Saturday, but we got him into some good positions without anything happening for him.
"We'll have a look at it and see how we can improve things."
Yates is still considering some changes to his squad, but players are likely to have to go out on loan before any more new players come in.