Hartlepool United have made their first signing of the summer in former Middlesbrough and Bradford City defender Matthew Bates, reports the official Hartlepool website.
The 27-year-old had a trial with the Pools at the start of last season but the club were unable to make an offer to the defender and he later joined Bradford City.
Bates was released by the Bantams at the end of the season and Hartlepool boss Colin Cooper has pounced to bring him back to the north east.
The Stockton-born centre-back started his career at Middlesbrough and was part of the Boro’s FA Youth Cup winning side of 2003/04.
He made his first-team debut at 17 in December 2004 and after a spell on loan at Darlington, he returned to enjoy a run in the first-team.
A terrible run of serious knee injuries halted Bates’ career from reaching his full potential but he was named as Middlesbrough’s captain during the 2010/11 season.
He was released by Boro in 2012 and had a short spell at Bristol City before signing for Bradford City in October last year.