Bristol City sign Matthew Bates on short-term deal
Bristol City boss Derek McInnes has handed Matthew Bates an opportunity to resurrect his career at Ashton Gate.
The former Middlesbrough defender has signed a short-term contract until January 16 after proving his fitness in training during the past fortnight.
Laid low by the latest in a series of serious knee injuries in April, Bates has not played a competitive game since the end of last season.
But McInnes, desperate to bolster a defence that has yet to keep a clean sheet this season, is prepared to take a chance on the Stockton-born player.
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A free agent after leaving the Riverside in the summer, Bates was expected to be named in the squad for this afternoon's home npower Championship clash against Blackpool.
McInnes said: "Matthew has proved his fitness and is a quality addition to our squad.
"He's had a poor time with injuries but has demonstrated the strength to come back on each occasion.
"We were more than happy to take a look at somebody with his quality and he has shown his fitness, including playing in a practice match in the week.
"He offers us a good option and is a good person too. It's a low-risk deal until mid-January, which gives him an opportunity to stake a claim for an extended stay if all goes well."
Troubled by a chronic knee condition early in his career, Bates made 76 appearances for Middlesbrough during the 2010/11 and 2011/12 seasons, establishing himself as one of the best central defenders in the English second tier.
He featured in the Boro team that won 1-0 at Ashton Gate in December last year, but again succumbed to injury at the end of the season.
His contract expired soon afterwards and, although Boro boss Tony Mowbray offered him a new deal earlier this month, the former England youth international decided to look for a new club.
Having trained with City's first team squad for nearly a fortnight, Bates further proved his fitness when playing for 45 minutes in a practice match at City's Failand training headquarters on Thursday.
McInnes met with the defender's representatives on Friday and decided to offer him an initial deal for the next two months.