Former Middlesbrough defender Matthew Bates has signed a three-month deal with City – and comes straight into the squad this afternoon.

The 26-year-old, who played 13 games for Bristol City in the Championship last season, has been training with the club.

He signed on Friday in time to beat the 5pm deadline to be eligible to face Tranmere. But the club deliberately kept his capture under wraps.

Wearing the number 22 shirt, he has been named on the bench.

Bates is a centre half but can play just as comfortably at right back or in a defensive midfield role.

His arrival will offset the loss of former Boro team-mate Andrew Davies, who underwent a knee operation on Thursday which will rule him out for up to four months.

Ironically Bates, who briefly captained Middlesbrough, has seen his career blighted in the past by five serious knee injuries. He has also played on loan at Darlington, Ipswich and Norwich.