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Matthew Bates glad to be looking up rather than down with Bantams
Matthew Bates can sense an air of optimism about his latest club after suffering back-to-back relegations.
Bates is hoping for the first action of his short-term deal with City at Crawley this afternoon.
The versatile defender sat on the bench for the Tranmere defeat but has already picked up the positive vibes around Valley Parade.
He said: “I was at a Middlesbrough team that struggled and got relegated from the Premier League. Then I went to Bristol City and they struggled and got relegated.
“It’s refreshing coming to a place that’s on the up and there’s a great team spirit. Within ten minutes of meeting the lads, I knew that everyone was pulling in the right direction.
“It’s a subconscious thing, you can just feel it that everyone was behind the manager.
“Even last week, the lads got beaten 1-0 and the fans were still clapping and giving them a standing ovation. I’ve never really had that before at a club.”
The 26-year-old had spoken to Mark Yeates before joining the club at the end of last week. But his mind was already made up.
“This is a club going places and I want to be part of that,” he said. “I was training at Sheffield Wednesday but they were umming and ahhing waiting for a takeover to come through.
“Then I got the phone call last Thursday night about Bradford and was straight in here Friday morning. I’d had offers from lower-league teams but I wanted to wait for the right opportunity.
“I can understand some (free agent) players do panic and just sign. I’ve got a six-month-old baby now and you’ve got to think of that.
“But I always had the feeling that I could get a better club. Thankfully this came up and the wait was well worthwhile.”
After five serious knee operations, Bates can understand any suspicions about his long-term fitness. He believes the deal until January offers enough time to stake his claim for something more permanent.
“As footballers, you have to prove yourself every new season.
“People try to put you down but it’s also about proving to myself that I can get back to the standards and level of football that I know I can produce.
“The contract works both ways. The club can look at my fitness and how I am and I can see where they want to go.
“I just want to play games now. I want to start the season if you like and if I can play ten games between now and the end of the contract then we can sit down and reassess things.
“I know it’s a cliché but the injuries have made me a stronger character. That’s not just in football.
“I’m quite level-headed and I don’t think many things affect me now.
“Maybe my career may have gone a different way without the injuries. But it’s happened and there are a lot people worse off than me.
“I feel great. I can say categorically that I don’t feel anything (wrong) – nothing will hold me back there.”
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