Yates’ start to life in the senior game was rather challenging.
After non-league loan spells with Harrogate Railway Athletic then Harrogate Town, Yates’ first proper exposure to the EFL (baring a five-minute cameo in 2014-15), was being part of a very poor Rotherham United side in 2016-17.
The Millers had widespread cultural problems, they won just five Championship games all season, they finished 28 points adrift of safety and conceded more goals than any post-war side in the second-tier – it was so bad, that on the last day draw with Derby, the final whistle was ironically cheered!
That is not the right kind of environment to nurture a then-teenager, help him develop confidence and find himself at professional level.
Yates’ 2017-18 campaign was mixed, despite him being part of a promotion-winning Rotherham side; he featured 17 times in the league but not once completed 90 minutes.
Although the 5’9” forward was clearly a positive character and a willing runner, he was perceived as not having the ability to lead the line in Paul Warne’s direct system – understandable given the form of Kieffer Moore then Michael Smith – and he perhaps did not have quite enough quality to displace David Ball as the number 10.
Yates though began to show his ability the following season at Carlisle, scoring five goals in a four-game December period that saw him recalled by Rotherham but again, he struggled at Championship level.