Matthew Bates is thrilled to have been rewarded for a brilliant season at Hartlepool United by being given a new and extended deal.
Pools boss Craig Hignett had already triggered a clause to keep Bates, along with several other key players, such as Jake Carroll, Carl Magnay, Rhys Oates, Billy Paynter and Brad Walker.
It’s nice to be wanted and be rewarded for how I’ve playedMATTHEW BATES
But the centre-half has put pen to paper on an improved contract which is believed to keep him at Victoria Park for two further years.
“I like playing for Hartlepool and I was delighted when the manager aid he wanted to give me the new deal,” he said. “I’m pleased too how quickly it has been finalised.
“The day the club said they were exercising the extra-year option in my contract they said they wanted to reward me with a longer-term deal.
“There has been a little bit of negotiating to get there, but not much.
“From it first being mentioned to being signed, it has gone really quickly and I’m grateful to the manager, the chairman, Gary Coxall and chief executive, Russ Green.
“It’s nice to be wanted and be rewarded for how I’ve played.”
Bates has been top class this season, putting in great performance after great performance at the heart of the defence, particularly alongside the on-loan Middlesbrough defender, Adam Jackson.
The 29-year-old has been Mr Consistent, with his form also recognised by finishing third in two Player of the Year votes, by the supporters and his fellow players.
Many Pools stars have highlighted the impact made by Hignett on the squad, with the new manager bringing the best out of a number of players.
Bates has excelled for both Ronnie Moore and Hignett and he paid tribute to both men.
“I started the season on the bench but then Ronnie brought me into the team and kept me in,” said the former Boro star.
“He also had the faith in me last summer to give me a contract extension to stay at Hartlepool and I must give massive thanks to Ronnie.
“The gaffer has come in and done the same thing.
“He’s shown faith in me and given me the new contract.
“Craig has done fantastic since he came in and I think everyone is looking forward to next season.”
Hignett has done well since taking the reins in February and keeping the core of the squad he sees as vital to the development of the side next season.
SportMail reported how the Pools boss believes that the defence of Magnay, Bates, Jackson and Carroll, allied to the quadruple Player of the Year Trevor Carson behind them, is a potential promotion-winning defence.
The one fly in the ointment is that Jackson is currently a Boro player, but Hignett would love to get the 21-year-old back, either on a permanent basis or via a long-term loan.
Bates and Jackson have been tremendous as a pairing, the partnership being sent out 24 times this season.