Cheltenham Town video: Play it again Sam, Mark Yates tells Sam Deering
SAM Deering will retain his place in Cheltenham Town's starting line-up if he continues to perform as well as he did at Fleetwood Town, says boss Mark Yates.
Deering will start tomorrow's home league match against AFC Wimbledon after shining in an advanced midfield role in Tuesday night's 1-1 draw at Highbury Stadium.
Central defender Steve Elliott is struggling with a knock picked up in the first half, but Yates said he was keen to stick with the same starting line-up that passed the ball so well.
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"Sam was excellent, as were ten other lads," Yates (pictured) said.
"The challenge for him now is to play the next 11 games and make it 23 starts for the season.
"If he plays like that he'll be in my team every game.
"He's been frustrated and I've been frustrated at times because we've seen flashes of good stuff and I want to see a lot more of it now.
"I am desperate to pick the same team for 11 games now, but if Steve Elliott is not fit, someone else will come in."
Deering played just off lone front man Paul Benson, who impressed Yates with his intelligence, bringing midfield players into the action.
"I thought Benno (Benson) bullied their centre halves with his movement and awareness and he was superb," Yates said.
"We've needed that and he had options, he had the ball to feet and we looked a decent side.
"The challenge now is to do it again tomorrow."
Yates admitted that he attempts to play a front pairing in recent weeks have not had the desired results.
He is now likely to leave top scorer Shaun Harrad and January signing Byron Harrison on the bench along with last season's leading marksman Darryl Duffy.
"We have renewed vigour for it and Tuesday gave me my appetite back in terms of what I really believe this group can do," he said.
"We need to get back to being ourselves. I've tried to change one or two things and it's not been as good as I wanted.
"We were back to something close to tried and trusted on Tuesday night and I thought we were excellent so I have to learn from that too.
"If the players show the quality we did the other night, we will be right up there – that's an absolute given.
"I have tried to be forceful and put another body on at the front end of the pitch and it hasn't always worked for us.
"We have to be brave enough to play and having that extra body in midfield allows us to do that."
Wimbledon will start tomorrow's match one place off the bottom of the Football League.
They will include former Robins captain Alan Bennett, who left the club on January 31 having agreed a settlement over the remaining six months of his contract.
Yates said: "I hope Alan gets the reception he deserves, because he was a big player for us and a fine captain for me.
"Things change and move on, but I know he'll get a warm reception off the players and staff.
"But when 3pm comes, we have to try and hurt Wimbledon and that means hurting him too.
"He'll be coming to prove a point and upset the applecart and I don't have a problem with that."