Torquay United play-off preview: One thing at a time for Robins boss Yates
Torquay United's squad may be embracing the prospect of a third Wembley trip in five years, but Cheltenham Town manager Mark Yates does not want his players thinking about the national stadium until after the npower League Two play-offs semi-final against the Gulls.
Half a dozen of Martin Ling's squad have already played at Wembley, and several more were in the side which lost last season's final to Stevenage at Old Trafford, Manchester. But this is new territory for the vast majority of Yates' men.
"There's a long way to go, and I've told the players that Wembley is miles away at the moment," Yates said.
"There's no point in thinking or talking about it, because we've two really tough games against Torquay."
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Sunday's first leg (noon) at the Abbey Business Stadium is followed by the second leg at Plainmoor next Thursday (7.45pm).
Although Cheltenham knocked United out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy early in the season, the Gulls went on to take four points from two League matches, including a gutsy 1-0 win at Whaddon Road in February.
"I don't think previous results count for anything now," said Yates. "It's all about two games of football, and, even if you lose in the first game, you mustn't do anything stupid because it's over 180 minutes.
"Martin Ling is a good manager, and we know how good Torquay are. They are strong and defensively sound, and they should be entertaining games."
Former Kidderminster boss Yates, now in his third season at Cheltenham, where he enjoyed considerable success as a player, may feel that former Plymouth Argyle striker Steve MacLean could prove a trump card for the Robins.
MacLean is on loan from Yeovil Town, but he started and scored in last Saturday's 2-1 win at Plymouth, where the Scotsman received plenty of stick from Home Park fans.
Ling, Torquay's manager, is due to hold his pre-first leg press conference at Plainmoor today, when he is expected to give a clear indication of centre-forward Rene Howe's chances of recovering from a groin strain.
Torquay have announced their offices will open from 10am to 2pm tomorrow to help fans still wanting to buy tickets for both play-offs legs.