By Andy Mitchell
MARK Yates has no intention of allowing relegation to blemish his CV despite the odds being stacked against his new Solihull Moors side.
The former Crawley Town, Cheltenham Town and Kidderminster Harriers boss became Moors’ third permanent manager of the season on Wednesday after taking over from Richard Money, who walked out after just 26 days in charge.
Moors sit six points off safety in the National League with bookies quoting odds as short as 33-1 ON for the west Midlands side to go down.
But a bullish Yates insisted there had been no talk of the drop at his first training session on Thursday.
“We are six points off safety, that’s two wins and a number of managers I have spoken to over the past few days have reiterated that to me,” said Yates.
“It wasn’t even mentioned in the first training session. The team has only been beaten heavily once and that was when they were chasing the game against Fylde.
“A lot of late goals have changed games as well. We want to eradicate the mistakes, improve the work ethic, competitiveness and organisation in the group and give them a way of playing that simplifies everything.
“The lads were responsive on Thursday. They are looking for direction and we have started to give them that while trying to instil some confidence and improve every aspect.
“To their credit, the players bought into that and hopefully we will see a general improvement over the coming weeks.
“I have never had a relegation on my management CV. I don’t want that now so will do everything I can to improve the team.”
As for his own position, Yates could not hide his delight at being back in the hot seat.
“It is nearly 18 months since my last job at Crawley and I have been itching to get back,” he added.
“I came close to getting a couple of jobs. I am really keen for us to show what we can do and what people have been missing.
“I know how good I am, it is a case of me getting the chance to show it and I am delighted to have that with Solihull.”
Ex-Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Tim Flowers will be Yates’ right-hand man with caretaker boss Gary Whild and goalkeeping coach Darren Acton remaining part of the backroom staff.
“Tim and I have been asked to work together and we know we can,” Yates added.
“Tim was the sort of person I wanted to bring into the club anyway so it was perfect for me. His knowledge is right up there, he has watched a lot of lower-level football and worked at a far higher level.”
Keith Bertschin, part of the first-team management under Money and Liam McDonald before him, will step away from first-team duties, but remains within the academy set-up.
“Keith is unlucky. He’s a good pal of mine, but with finances and everything else we wanted a tight group,” added Yates.
“It was a decision made with a heavy heart but he will continue his role with the academy and around the club.”
*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper, which is available every Sunday.
By Andy Mitchell