Bristol City boss ready to take a gamble on Boro's Matthew Bates
BRISTOL City boss Derek McInnes will decide today whether or not to offer Matthew Bates a short-term deal.
A free agent after leaving Middlesbrough when his contract expired in the summer, the former England under-19 defender has been training with the Robins for more than a week.
Looking to revive his career after recovering from the latest in a series of knee injuries, the 25-year-old is hoping to earn a contract with the Championship club.
McInnes has made no secret of his desire to sign a centre-half and has identified Stockton-born Bates as someone who could potentially bolster a defence that has failed to keep a clean sheet in 17 games this season.
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But he will first seek assurances that the ex-Boro skipper, who has a history of serious knee problems, has made a full recovery from his latest setback before offering him terms.
City assistant manager Tony Docherty told The Post: "Matthew has trained a full week with us, but is not ready for competitive games yet.
"He has been training hard but just lacks that sharpness you need to play matches.
"There was an under-21 game this week which came too soon for him and we will see if he is ready for the next one.
"He has a history of knee problems and we will see how he does, check his fitness at the end of the week and then sit down and discuss things after that."
Bates suffered four serious knee injuries between 2005 and 2009, but there is doubting his ability when fit. A versatile defender, who can operate at centre-half or full-back, he made 42 appearances for Boro last season before another knee injury forced him back on to the sidelines.
Out of contract at the Riverside in the summer, he recently turned down the offer of a new contract from cash-strapped Boro and opted to look for another club.
Docherty added: "Derek (McInnes) is continually working to identify players who can make us better and he has identified this one.
"Hopefully, Matthew will have a good week in training and we will see how things go after that.
"He is a top player and can play the (Championship) level all day.
"I remember a particular game when Middlesbrough beat is 1-0 last season and he was outstanding.
"Matthew is a very good player and he is one we will have a good look at before making a decision."
Birmingham acting chairman Peter Pannu has poured cold water on claims from Gianni Paladini that a takeover deal could be agreed within the next ten days.
Paladini's consortium is understood to have lodged an improved £30 million bid for the npower Championship club