Matthew Bates reacts as ex-Chelsea and Leeds midfielder leaves Hartlepool

Michael Woods has left Hartlepool United
Michael Woods has left Hartlepool United

Hartlepool United have confirmed that midfielder Michael Woods has left the club.

Manager Matthew Bates confirmed that the 28-year-old was in talks with another side following the defeat to Barnet, and he has now finalised a move to National League rivals Harrogate Town.

After impressing during a trial spell at Pools, the former Leeds and Chelsea youngster signed a permanent deal at Victoria Park in the summer of 2014 and went on to become a key part of the first team squad.

Woods racked up 160 appearances at the club and now rejoins Harrogate Town - with whom he spent a short spell before joining Pools.

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The move comes after Woods requested a transfer in the summer, with manager Matthew Bates now feeling the time was right for both parties to move on.

“Michael approached us during the summer and expressed his desire to move on," said the Pools boss, speaking to the club's official website.

“We’ve worked with him in the months since then but last week he repeated his feelings over wanting to leave so the decision was made not to stand in his way.

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“He’s been a good player for us over the years but this is probably best for both parties now so we move on and Michael leaves with our best wishes.”

Meanwhile, Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver was delighted to seal the signing of Woods - feeling he will add an extra dimension to the promotion-chasing squad.

"I felt we needed another ingredient coming into the squad, we know what he did first time round here, he’s moved on since then and so has the club, both have progressed nicely.”

“When he last played here we trained one night a week and had nothing like the facilities we have now.

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“He brings a lot of flair and can beat a man, relishes any opportunity to take people on and will fit right in with our style of football.

“It’s an opportunity for us to add anther dimension to the squad and sometimes you need that in games, in the last ten minutes when you need that bit of creativity he can unlock defences that have been sitting back.

“He’s got a great attitude, he lives for football and will add a little bit of seniority to the squad at 28-years-old.”

Woods could face his former employers when Hartlepool travel to Harrogate on January 19.