EXPERIENCED Town defender Steve Yates looks certain to blow the final whistle on his football career just two matches short of the magical 600 milestone.

The 35-year-old centre-back, who confirmed his impending retirement last month, has suffered a recurrence of his calf injury in training.

And Town manager Peter Jackson has admitted it's highly unlikely Yates will have the chance to add to his 598 outings amassed in spells at home-city club Bristol Rovers, QPR, Tranmere, Sheffield United and Town, where he moved in the 2003 close-season.

With brothers Nathan and Tom Clarke both uncertain of making Saturday's League I trip to play-off chasing Brentford and Efe Sodje having left for Yeovil, a fit Yates would have been firmly in the frame.

But an appearance in the capital is out of the question and Yates's chances of playing in the final two games, at home to Swindon on Saturday week, and at Wrexham seven days after that, seem slim.

"It's a shame Steve is ending his career in the treatment room, because he has been a fine competitor down the years, one I remember playing against myself when he was at Bristol and I was at Bradford, and a superb signing for this club," said Jackson.

"His conduct on and off the field has been excellent and he played a big part in last season's promotion.

"Steve is off to Crete to make a new life for himself and his family and he goes with our very best wishes."

Yates' 598th game, and 60th for Town, came in the 4-3 defeat at Walsall in January.

He played 238 times for Bristol Rovers between 1988-93, 150 for QPR (1993-99), 137 for Tranmere (1999-2002) and 13 for Sheffield United (2002-03).