Hartlepool United boss Colin Cooper has a big future in management says former Middlesbrough team-mate Matthew Bates

RESPECTS BOSS: Matthew Bates. Picture by FRANK REID
RESPECTS BOSS: Matthew Bates. Picture by FRANK REID

MATTHEW Bates believes his old teammate and new gaffer at Hartlepool United has a “big future” in management

The 27-year-old was Colin Cooper’s first signing of the summer and it was quite a coup for Pools to secure the signature of the former Middlesbrough defender.

Bates admits one of the motivations which made him join was Cooper, a man he knows well from his Boro days and someone he has always looked up to.

“One of the main reasons I came here was because of the gaffer,” explained Bates.

“I know him and his philosophies, he has been a coach and a player that I have looked up to and he has a big future in management.

“When I look back you can see that he was always a leader in the dressing room and can see why he has gone down the management route.”

On the football front, Bates says consistency is the key to success for Hartlepool United in Sky Bet League Two this season and he is confident his new teammates can compete.

Bates added: “Midway through last season the club was almost in the play-offs but dropped off towards the end.

“This league is all about consistency and if you can keep clean sheets and score goals – which is easier said than done – then you can do well.

“There are probably 10 to 15 teams in this league that will believe they can go up and we will be one of them.”

Bates enjoyed a short spell training with Pools at the start of last season following his release from Bristol City but at the time Cooper was unable to make an offer for the defender and he joined League One side Bradford City.

However, Cooper kept tabs on the former England Youth international and was in negotiations to bring him back to the region since his Bantams release at the end of last term.

Stockton-born Bates came through the ranks at Middlesbrough and was part of their FA Youth Cup winning side of 2003-04 before going on to establish himself in their first team.

A terrible run of misfortune on the injury front saw Bates sidelined by two serious knee injuries before he returned to Boro’s first team in 2009, signing a new three-year contract with the club despite relegation.

He then had to fight back from another serious knee injury in 2009-10 but came back strongly and was handed the captain’s armband at the Riverside by then-boss Tony Mowbray and enjoyed a good run until injury struck again in 2012.

Since then Bates has proved his fitness with his stints at Bristol and Bradford.

Bates, just back from Pools’ pre-season training camp at La Cala Resort, in Spain, says his knees are fine and has been enjoying the training since arriving at Hartlepool United.

“My knees are fine,” explained Bates.