MARK Yeates reckons he can finally call City home and put a troubled first year at the club behind him.

The Irishman cut a frustrated figure last season but never doubted that he would prove his worth, given the right opportunity.

Now playing in a pass-oriented system more suited to his style, Yeates believes he can do himself justice.

He said: “The side as a whole are playing the right sort of football and being patient. It’s something I find easier.

“We’ve got a lot of good technical footballers here and it’s enjoyable. As hard as we worked on Tuesday night, we also moved the ball around in some tight situations – that’s down to confidence in the group.

“I was determined to come back strong and maybe I also feel a bit more at home now. I’ve got pals of mine in the group – they are not just team-mates but close personal friends.

“Things are better with the gaffer and he’s giving me a lot more responsibility. I’m one of the older boys in the group and I can feel the trust and appreciation from the rest of the staff.”

Yeates, back at his old club Colchester today, admitted he found it tough to break into the team last year as Phil Parkinson kept faith with the players that won promotion.

“They had done so well the year before and were set in their ways. They knew their job down to a tee.

“I came from a completely different system at Watford so maybe it was a catch-22 situation for me.

“There were times when the likes of me, Raf (De Vita) and Jason Kennedy might have got a sniff but it didn’t happen. The gaffer obviously felt the way they played suited others more than us.

“I also had the problem with my knee which wasn’t right all season. I had to have four injections.

“I probably fooled myself a bit by putting myself up for selection at times when I couldn’t even strike corners. I was just so eager to get out there.”

Like Kennedy, Yeates knows he has to convince the fans who had written him off. He is equally confident that he can do so.

“People are going to have opinions at any club you go to. I know where I’ve played.

“I know my own ability and I’ve had Championship clubs pay big money for me.

“But you’ve got to be on the pitch and I didn’t start ten games last season. I’ve never played so little in my whole career.

“It was frustrating – I was frustrated at not playing. I love it when I’m out there and getting on the ball.

“The season before I came here I played 30 games in the side for Gianfranco Zola.

“I was in the Championship playing quite a bit so you don’t become a bad player overnight.

“Last season was a learning curve. Things don’t always work out straight away as you wanted.

“I’ve got a bit more hunger in my belly now and the staff have pointed out the distance I cover in games.”

Yeates played 81 games in two spells with Colchester, including the season when Parkinson steered them into the Championship. He had a reputation in Essex as a goal-scoring midfielder, netting 27 times – and admits he is overdue one now.

He said: “I’m my biggest critic and I’m beating myself up I haven’t got a couple of goals so far.

“I was disappointed the other night with the chance that got pulled back to me. It was just a little bit behind me and I couldn’t get enough power on it.

“I’ve also hit a post this season and the keeper pulled off a decent save in the Coventry game so I’m getting in the right positions.”