FORMER Newcastle United striker Guy Bates has signed a one-year deal with Glenavon.
The 26 year-old forward made a guest appearance for the Blues against Larne at Inver Park on Saturday before signing a contract later that evening.
After starting his career at St James’ Park, Bates moved on to the club’s namesake, the Newcastle United Jets in Australia’s A-League before also playing in the English Football League with Darlington and in the Belgian Second Division.
Bates has also won a league title with Drogheda United before a dip in form saw him drop down to play for Black Bull FC in the Meath and District League.
Despite this, Glenavon boss Gary Hamilton is delighted that he has managed to get the experienced striker on board.
“I’ve kept it under wraps for over four weeks now because I didn’t want anyone getting a sniff that he was available. If they had, then money might have dictated and we wouldn’t have got a look in,” he told the ‘MAIL.’
“He’s a top quality, on paper, striker. He’s played for a lot of good clubs and has earned a lot more money than he is now on at Glenavon.
“In my opinion, he’s worth three or four times the money he is currently on but he knows he needs to prove himself. We’re delighted to get him on board on the money we’ve got him on.
“He was in a bit of a rut there for a season and a half but he has a lot of pedigree. When he was with Drogheda, he was holding the likes of Tony Grant and Eamon Zayed out of the team.
“He comes highly recommended by Tony and he has a pedigree. Form is temporary and class is permanent. He has had a tough while in his personal life but he came back to Ireland and scored 36 goals in 13 games last season.
“We’ve benefited because he couldn’t play in the League of Ireland because he accepted a tax payment and so he had to come up north. Tony told us about him when he retired and he’s been training with us for a few weeks now.
“He’s 6’2 but he’s surprisingly good on the ball. For over six foot he’s very good with his feet and he holds the ball up well. He’s decent in the air too and is also very clever with the ball.
“We have quality players at the club now like Ciaran Doherty and Andy Kilmartin and he’ll be on the same wavelength as them.”
Meanwhile, the other trialist who featured for Glenavon against Larne on Saturday, James Knowles, is unlikely to be joining the club. Knowles, a Northern Ireland U21 international, has recently been released by Blackburn Rovers but is due back in England for a trial with Sheffield Wednesday. Hamilton is therefore pessimistic of his chances of landing the talented midfielder, who has also trained with Cliftonville this summer.
Hamilton said: “He trained with us on Thursday and played on Saturday but there’s maybe nothing happening because it looks like he’ll go back over to England. Sheffield Wednesday are looking him over.
“It’s probably a no-goer but he’s training with us and we’re keeping ourselves in the frame because you never know what might happen. Things might not work out in Sheffield and if not, he may think he enjoyed it here and come back.”
Meanwhile, Hamilton does have a former Glentoran team-mate training with the Glenavon squad in 23 year-old Grant Gardiner, who had an indifferent season last term after signing for Lisburn Distillery.
“We’ve got Grant training with us as well,” said the Glenavon boss.
“He played in the Setanta Cup final with Glentoran and has scored in Big Two games. He went to Distillery last summer and did ok under Tommy Wright but then when the manager changed, he wasn’t fancied.
“That happens in football and it’s happened to me but at the end of the day, Grant’s got a lot of experience, has a great attitude and he’s talented. He’ll be training with us over the next few weeks and hopefully something will work out there as well.”