Matthew Bates has committed his future to Hartlepool United after signing a brand new contract.
A club statement read: "The club had initially taken up the option on his contract at the end of the campaign but boss Craig Hignett has now moved to reward Bates for his performances with a new deal."
The 29-year-old enjoyed an impressive season at Victoria Park under Ronnie Moore and Craig Hignett, forming a solid defensive partnership alongside Middlesbrough loanee Adam Jackson.
Bates, who joined Pools in the summer of 2014, made 25 starts in League Two during his first season at The Vic, despite being frustrated by injury at times.
The former Middlesbrough centre-back began the 2015-16 on the bench but quickly won his place back in the starting line-up and was a virtual ever-present during the second half of the campaign, missing only three of Pools’ last 20 games.
His form did not go unnoticed by the fans and his team-mates alike, with Bates voted third in both the Supporters’ and Players’ Player of the Year awards for 2015-16.