Matthew Bates will do a job at left back for Bradford City – but don’t ask him to like it

Matthew Bates is a right-footer playing at left back for City

Matthew Bates is a right-footer playing at left back for City

First published in Sport Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Bradford City Reporter

Reluctant left back Matthew Bates is no fan of his position.

The defender does not beat around the bush when asked about his role as James Meredith’s seemingly regular back-up.

“It’s not a position I’ve played or particularly enjoy, if I’m being honest,” said Bates as he prepares to fill the role once more against Port Vale tonight.

“But the manager thinks I can do a job there and I’ll do that for the team until he brings somebody in – if and when that happens.”

Phil Parkinson still has an eye on the market for left-back options but experienced – and available – solutions for that specialist job are hard to come by.

He even looked abroad, with former Almeria full back Christian Fernandez spending a couple of days at Apperley Bridge on trial before the club said “adios”.

So Bates appears to be in it for the interim; at least until Meredith’s metatarsal is ready for the rigours of business as usual.

Since taking over from Carl McHugh for the second half at Bramall Lane a month ago, Bates has now played four full games there.

He said: “I’d probably only played there once or twice maximum before now. I’ve been at right back for a bit but never on the left.

“Playing as a defender and midfielder as well, I think I’ve got a good understanding of different positions. I know where I should be and what I should be doing on the ball.

“The hardest part is thinking about it when the ball’s coming. I’m not a left-footed left back, so you have to think about where your first touch should be.

“When I’ve played right back, I’ve liked to get forward. It’s important that a full back does that.

“Adam (Reach) has helped me a lot because he works really hard and he’s good to play with. He covers if I do get forward.

“It’s something I will try and do, especially as I get more used to it. It’s just the quality of my left foot I might struggle with!

“There was a moment at Wolves when I touched it out with my right foot and crossed it with the left – and totally shanked it.

“But I respect the manager; he’s been great for me. He asked me to play there and he knows I’ll give him 100 per cent.”

Bates is as concerned as anyone with City’s declining form, which has brought the bottom end of League One into sharper focus, but does not sense a team in terminal decline.

He said: “The spirit has never gone. Even though the run we’ve been on has been really poor, it doesn’t feel like that.

“It’s hard to explain. We got into every game thinking we can win it, so I wouldn’t say the run has killed our confidence. I just feel like a Jonah because the bad run started when I came in!

“But we’ve picked up a lot of draws and there have been some good performances. I’m sure it will turn around before much longer.”

Comments (6)

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9:35am Tue 18 Feb 14

Freddy says...

*
For me a Professional Player should be prepared and capable of playing any position.
*
Is the defence weakness occurring in this LB position. Do the opposition exploit that possibility.
*
Be proud to be selected---make it your position. Don't let others know your not happy .
*
Show me tonight you are a TEAM player.
*
* For me a Professional Player should be prepared and capable of playing any position. * Is the defence weakness occurring in this LB position. Do the opposition exploit that possibility. * Be proud to be selected---make it your position. Don't let others know your not happy . * Show me tonight you are a TEAM player. * Freddy
  • Score: -13

11:00am Tue 18 Feb 14

fansince1956 says...

Freddy wrote:
*
For me a Professional Player should be prepared and capable of playing any position.
*
Is the defence weakness occurring in this LB position. Do the opposition exploit that possibility.
*
Be proud to be selected---make it your position. Don't let others know your not happy .
*
Show me tonight you are a TEAM player.
*
Claptrap!
[quote][p][bold]Freddy[/bold] wrote: * For me a Professional Player should be prepared and capable of playing any position. * Is the defence weakness occurring in this LB position. Do the opposition exploit that possibility. * Be proud to be selected---make it your position. Don't let others know your not happy . * Show me tonight you are a TEAM player. *[/p][/quote]Claptrap! fansince1956
  • Score: 8

12:57pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Bantam sthn Ellatha says...

All footballers, no matter at what standard, have favourite positions that they just love to play in and positions that they absolutely hate.
If you are selected in your favourite position you usually play well, put in a position that you don't like and it is very very hard to have a good game.

What is so hard is for a right footed player to play on the left (especially full back) and as such it is unfair to critisise his performance.
Parkie, go out and get a specialist left back (your job, no-one elses) and leave Bates to play in a position that's natural to him.
All footballers, no matter at what standard, have favourite positions that they just love to play in and positions that they absolutely hate. If you are selected in your favourite position you usually play well, put in a position that you don't like and it is very very hard to have a good game. What is so hard is for a right footed player to play on the left (especially full back) and as such it is unfair to critisise his performance. Parkie, go out and get a specialist left back (your job, no-one elses) and leave Bates to play in a position that's natural to him. Bantam sthn Ellatha
  • Score: 4

1:28pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Statler4 says...

Bantam sthn Ellatha wrote:
All footballers, no matter at what standard, have favourite positions that they just love to play in and positions that they absolutely hate.
If you are selected in your favourite position you usually play well, put in a position that you don't like and it is very very hard to have a good game.

What is so hard is for a right footed player to play on the left (especially full back) and as such it is unfair to critisise his performance.
Parkie, go out and get a specialist left back (your job, no-one elses) and leave Bates to play in a position that's natural to him.
Specialist left backs are extremely difficult to find. Clubs that have them don't want to let them go. You make it sound as if Phil can just stop off at Morrison's on the way home and pick one up. He has been looking for one. That snide your job no-one else's comment is just a nasty little free kick from an empty vessel at a manager under stress.
[quote][p][bold]Bantam sthn Ellatha[/bold] wrote: All footballers, no matter at what standard, have favourite positions that they just love to play in and positions that they absolutely hate. If you are selected in your favourite position you usually play well, put in a position that you don't like and it is very very hard to have a good game. What is so hard is for a right footed player to play on the left (especially full back) and as such it is unfair to critisise his performance. Parkie, go out and get a specialist left back (your job, no-one elses) and leave Bates to play in a position that's natural to him.[/p][/quote]Specialist left backs are extremely difficult to find. Clubs that have them don't want to let them go. You make it sound as if Phil can just stop off at Morrison's on the way home and pick one up. He has been looking for one. That snide your job no-one else's comment is just a nasty little free kick from an empty vessel at a manager under stress. Statler4
  • Score: 3

2:49pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Bantam sthn Ellatha says...

Now now, Statler4, easy easy! Isn't it PP's job to find players for whatever position?
No-one mentioned or inferred "Morrisons" or the like but it is unfair to expect Bates (who gets some stick from a few) to perform at his best in that position.
As for "under stress" - PP is no different to any other Manager, that's what the job's all about unfortunately.
Anyway, here's hoping for three points tonight to ease 'the stress' !!
Now now, Statler4, easy easy! Isn't it PP's job to find players for whatever position? No-one mentioned or inferred "Morrisons" or the like but it is unfair to expect Bates (who gets some stick from a few) to perform at his best in that position. As for "under stress" - PP is no different to any other Manager, that's what the job's all about unfortunately. Anyway, here's hoping for three points tonight to ease 'the stress' !! Bantam sthn Ellatha
  • Score: 2

3:54pm Tue 18 Feb 14

Statler4 says...

Bantam sthn Ellatha wrote:
Now now, Statler4, easy easy! Isn't it PP's job to find players for whatever position?
No-one mentioned or inferred "Morrisons" or the like but it is unfair to expect Bates (who gets some stick from a few) to perform at his best in that position.
As for "under stress" - PP is no different to any other Manager, that's what the job's all about unfortunately.
Anyway, here's hoping for three points tonight to ease 'the stress' !!
It is his job to find players for whatever position but the left back is the most difficult of all and he's been doing his best to find someone but the right one isn't available. I certainly hope "the stress" is eased tonight with three points, a clean sheet and a hatful of goals which will alleviate the tension in all of us!!
[quote][p][bold]Bantam sthn Ellatha[/bold] wrote: Now now, Statler4, easy easy! Isn't it PP's job to find players for whatever position? No-one mentioned or inferred "Morrisons" or the like but it is unfair to expect Bates (who gets some stick from a few) to perform at his best in that position. As for "under stress" - PP is no different to any other Manager, that's what the job's all about unfortunately. Anyway, here's hoping for three points tonight to ease 'the stress' !![/p][/quote]It is his job to find players for whatever position but the left back is the most difficult of all and he's been doing his best to find someone but the right one isn't available. I certainly hope "the stress" is eased tonight with three points, a clean sheet and a hatful of goals which will alleviate the tension in all of us!! Statler4
  • Score: 1

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