Mark Yates challenges Cheltenham Town to stay in top three
MARK Yates said there was still much more to come from his Cheltenham Town team after watching them move into the automatic promotion places with a 2-1 victory at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Marlon Pack’s first strike of the season and a second-half goal from Kaid Mohamed put the Robins 2-0 up before Byron Harrison’s injury-time header set up a nervy finale.
Cheltenham held on to move into the top three as their unbeaten run stretched to six League Two games.
They have two more points than they did at this stage last term, but boss Yates does not believe they have found their top form yet.
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“It’s nice to be up there in the top three and that’s where we want to be,” Yates said.
“Let’s get there and stay there – the players deserve it and it’s up to them to make sure we stay there.
“But there is more to come definitely because we can finish teams off better and get hold of the ball better, but we are a good side.”
Yates used the memories of last season’s 4-1 defeat at the Cherry Red Records Stadium to fire his players up before the match.
He believes they have made significant progress since that match, which was followed by a vast upturn in form.
“If you look at when we came down here last year, we were embarrassed by Wimbledon really,” he said.
“It was a big motivating factor to make sure it didn’t happen again, but we are a lot better now and it was big learning curve for us here last year. We needed to be strong and put in a performance.”
Yates was happy with the way his team dealt with the occasion as Neil Ardley took charge of AFC Wimbledon for the first time since taking over from Terry Brown as boss.
He also praised Keith Lowe, deputising for suspended captain Alan Bennett at centre-half alongside Steve Elliott.
“It was always going to be tough with the announcement of a new manager and their fans got right behind them,” Yates said.
“In the second half we are disappointed we didn’t put the game out of sight and we had a scare at the end, but we deserved it.
“It’s disappointing they didn’t keep a clean sheet as my back four and goalkeeper were outstanding. I have been looking for a loan centre-back and nothing has come in, but I have no problem putting Keith in there.”
Cheltenham travel to eighth-placed Bradford City on Saturday, where they will be looking to maintain their unbeaten away record this season.