We solve the formation tracking control problem for mobile robots via linear control, under the assumption that each agent communicates only with one 'leader' robot and with one follower, hence forming a spanning-tree topology. We assume that the communication may be interrupted on intervals of time. As in the classical tracking control problem for non-holonomic systems, the swarm is driven by a fictitious robot which moves about freely and which is a leader to one robot only. Our control approach is decentralised and the control laws are linear with time-varying gains; in particular, this accounts for the case when position measurements may be lost over intervals of time. For both velocity-controlled and force-controlled systems, we establish uniform global exponential stability, hence consensus formation tracking, for the error system under a condition of persistency of excitation on the reference angular velocity of the virtual leader and on the control gains.