Just like watching Madrid

Last updated : 24 January 2011 By Northern Echo

Skipper Bates scored a spectacular individual goal which deserved to win any game, but Billy Jones scored his second goal against Middlesbrough this season two minutes from time to steal a point at the Riverside.

Bates, who partnered Seb Hines in the wake of David Wheater's departure to Bolton Wanderers in midweek, carried the ball for 40 yards before unleashing a shot through Lilywhites goalkeeper Andy Lonergan to seal a goal which will live long in the Eaglescliffe-born defender's memory.

Bates said: I like to bring the ball out for the back as much as I can. It just opened up nicely for me. They didn't come out to press me and I struck it low and hard and luckily it's gone in.

But drawing again is the story of our season. We were miles better than Preston, we were like Real Madrid in the second half compared to them, we dominated possession, they had one or two half chances, they got one real chance and they scored.

We've got to concentrate on not conceding, possessionwise we were miles ahead, so we need to create more chances to kill teams off.

Bates' sparring partner Wheater was at the Riverside to see Bates and Hines form a promising partnership. The Redcar-born stopper travelled back to the North-West after the game to prepare for his debut against Chelsea tonight.

Bates said of his former team-mate: We had a laugh after the game, I enjoyed playing with him during his time here.

He needs to do the best for his career, he was too good for Championship and the offer was too good for the club to turn down.

It's a bit of a step up from playing against Bristol City to playing against Didier Drogba but I'm sure he'll handle it.

Wheater's departure, believes Bates, will allow the likes of Hines and the returning Jonathan Grounds to state their case as a viable replacement.

Bates said: Seb's a strong defender he wins lots of headers and he plays the ball well. He needs time to settle in.

People forget how much bad luck he's had with injuries, he seems to have had more injuries than me.

The gaffer's made it clear that whoever comes in and does well will stay in the team and he's done that.

Source: Northern Echo

Source: Northern Echo