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Cheltenham Town: Benson can fire us to promotion - Yates

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 30, 2013

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MARK Yates was thrilled to finally capture his leading loan target as Paul Benson joined Cheltenham Town from Swindon Town for the rest of the season.

The move has been on and off several times since Benson's spell with League One strugglers Portsmouth ended earlier this month, but Yates now believes the 33-year-old is the man to fire the club into League One.

The former Charlton Athletic and Dagenham and Redbridge target man initially turned down Yates' advances, but the Robins boss persisted and he will now make his debut in Saturday's home match against Torquay United.

"Paul said no at first and I fully respect people taking their time over decisions to make sure everything is all right," said Yates (inset).

"I would have liked him here earlier of course, but I am just delighted to get him because he is the one I wanted all along."

Benson joined Swindon a year ago and helped Paolo Di Canio's side power to the League Two title during the second half of the season.

Yates believes his presence up front will greatly enhance Cheltenham's chances of following suit.

"His scoring record speaks for itself and since Chris Zebroski left we've been a little light in forward areas," Yates said.

"He will suit the way we play. He is a hard-working leader of the line and a willing runner.

"He will bring a bit of everything – he dominated League Two defences for Swindon last year and we have to make sure we give him the ammunition to do the same for us."

At 6ft 2in Benson is an awkward proposition for defenders as he showed in Swindon's 1-0 win over Cheltenham at the County Ground last March, when he netted the winner.

He was at Cheltenham's 0-0 draw with Rochdale last Friday, as he weighed up his switch to the Abbey Business Stadium.

Yates said he had not yet thought beyond the end of this season, saying Benson's arrival is purely to help fifth-placed Cheltenham over the promotion line.

"Primarily it's all about promotion this season and I think there is more to come from us," he said.

"I am not thinking beyond this season with Paul yet, but of course I am planning short, medium and long term.

"He was a massive part of Swindon's title win last season and from where we are now until the end of the season, he will make us better."

Benson joins fellow loan signing Luke McCullough and permanent signing Jason Taylor as Yates' January business so far.

He has also extended midfielder Darren Carter's stay for the rest of the campaign and there could be two more new faces to follow.

"I think the board can see we are not far off, but we needed a bit more help and I am happy with what I have been able to do," Yates said.

"I am still on course to get one more in, maybe two and we'll know more by Thursday."

The deadline for transfers is 11pm tomorrow.

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