Yates demands his side seal a top-three spot
MARK Yates insists the quality necessary for a top three place is within Cheltenham Town's squad, but he knows it is now time for the players to deliver.
The sixth-placed Robins take on promotion rivals Rotherham United at the Abbey Business Stadium tomorrow (3pm), the first of eight remaining League Two matches this term.
Their automatic promotion hopes suffered a blow at Burton Albion last Saturday, when they were beaten 3-1, but with 24 points still remaining Yates said it was all to play for.
"We haven't been quite as good as we were last year, but we are in there fighting and we won't give up on anything," Yates said. "There is real belief here that we have the players, but we have got to put results together.
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"We are right in the thick of it and everyone is looking forward to it."
Yates will once again lock horns with old adversary Steve Evans, who has guided Rotherham to fifth place, level on points. They have clashed on the touchline numerous times over the years, going back to Yates' time at Kidderminster, when Evans was in charge of Boston United.
Both men were sent from the dug out when Cheltenham played Crawley Town last February, but there is a mutual respect between them, despite their bench bickering.
"Steve is obviously a good manager, but in the last few years at Crawley and Rotherham, it sounds like there has been money to spend to get the best players," Yates said.
"But that in itself is a hard job with those expectations and he can be proud of his record.
"He knows a player and he certainly fires them up, so we have to make sure we work hard and compete."
After the buzz around the town created by the National Hunt Festival at Prestbury Park this week, Yates is hoping his team can keep the feel-good factor going with a victory.
"Hopefully the Cheltenham public have had a good week at the races and they can have another good day on Saturday, with us giving them something to cheer," Yates said.
"It's all about holding our nerve, going out and enjoying ourselves, expressing ourselves on the pitch and if we do that we'll be fine."
Yates has no new injury worries, with young defender Harry Hooman the only absentee.
Byron Harrison is pushing for a return to the starting line-up after a first goal for Cheltenham at Burton during an impressive second-half display.
Evans will be without Iceland international Kári Árnason, who serves the second of a two-match suspension.
But Rotherham have no injury worries and they were last night poised to make at least one new loan signing before tomorrow's match.
Former Cheltenham striker Kayode Odejayi is set to start on the bench, with Alex Revell and 18-goal Daniel Nardiello preferred up front. Nardiello scored twice in Rotherham's 4-2 win over Cheltenham in November.
Andy Warrington, 36, will be in goal behind a back four of Dale Tonge, Johnny Mullins, Claude Davis and Liam Ridehalgh. In midfield, Ben Pringle and Lee Frecklington, who both scored against the Robins earlier in the season, will be wide with David Noble and Michael O'Connor in the middle of the park.