JERRY Yates’ absence hurt Swindon Town’s chances of recording points against Northampton Town in Tuesday night’s controversial League Two fixture, according to manager Richie Wellens.

Cobblers boss Keith Curle switched the visitors’ formation to 4-5-1 in the game’s concluding moments – a phase where Wellens’ side pressed forward in search of an equalising goal following Andy Williams’ 67th-minute strike.

Northampton’s tactical tweak hurt Swindon, with Wellens admitting that Yates’ presence on the pitch could well have been the difference between no points or three.

Knowing he can only control the controllables, the Town boss has since vowed to work hard on his side’s ability to pass the ball in all three thirds of the pitch.

He said: “We missed Jerry Yates on Tuesday night, especially when Northampton changed their formation to 4-5-1.

“I would’ve liked to have gone with two strikers in that situation. But we can’t control what we can’t control.

“We worked hard on Wednesday in training – we have to pass the ball. If we keep passing the ball, we will win games.

“If you pass the ball for 60 minutes and then go long for 15 minutes, you put yourself at risk of losing the game in those 15 minutes.

“We have a new group of players and are still a work in progress.”

Wellens was frustrated by his side’s sluggish forward movement, stating that his players’ passing in the first two-thirds of the pitch must improve ahead of the visit to Cheltenham Town on Saturday.

It’s likely Swindon will face teams willing to camp in and poach a point or three from Wellens’ side more than once this season.

Moving the ball quickly and opening up gaps has therefore been highlighted as a grey area in Swindon’s current game by the manager.

He added: “We could’ve been quicker moving the ball in the first two-thirds.

“I’m not sure what the possession stats were, but – especially in the second half – we had a lot of control of the game.

“If we are playing against a double block of a four and then five, we need to move the ball around so when the gaps appear we’ll have bigger spaces to work in.”