Date: 24th June 2014 at 9:39pm
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Manager Colin Cooper has completed his first piece of business of the summer by signing centre back Matthew Bates.

The talented 27 year old actually spent time with us last summer training following on from his release by Bristol City, but a deal couldn’t be done, so he moved on to Bradford City for 2013-14.

However, Cooper has kept tabs on him and has been in negotiations to bring him back since he was released last term.

The player came through the youth ranks of Middlesbrough and was part of their FA Youth Cup winning side back in 2003-04, going on to make his debut for their first team very shortly before his 18th birthday in December 2004.

He gained further experience in 2005 by spending a spell out on loan with Darlington, and having impressed, he then returned to The Riverside and got a run in their first team alongside former England defender Gareth Southgate.

Unfortunately he was then hit by two serious knee injuries that kept him out for a significant period of time, but did return to their first team in 2009, penning a three year deal, despite their relegation and interest from Premier League sides.

He unfortunately again then suffered a further knee injury in 2009-10, but this time returned even stronger and took the captains armband under their then manager Tony Mowbray, playing well until injury once again curtailed his progress in 2012.

Since then, Bates has been doing all he can to prove his fitness with stints at Bristol City and Bradford City, and having seen him training our gaffer doesn’t have any concerns and was quick to take the opportunity to get him when it arose.

So far in his career he has made 153 starts, with a further 18 appearances from the bench, scoring six times. Last season for Bradford he made 23 appearances all in, and clearly we have got a very good asset and defender on our hands if we can keep him injury free now as clearly they have held him back.

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