WORCESTER Raiders have confirmed the signing of former Malvern Town and Worcester City forward Joe Bates for the 2023/24 Hellenic League Premier season. 

Bates scored 19 goals for Malvern Town in their promotion-winning campaign in 2022/23, but fell out of favour at Malvern in the last couple of months. 

The striker went on to play a game for Worcester City under boss Chris Cornes towards the end of the 22/23 campaign, and was also involved in the City Reserves.

But he has now joined City's local rival Raiders with manager Karl Gormley and former Malvern Town defender Jay Sauntson. 

Malvern Gazette: Joe Bates scored 19 goals for Malvern Town last seasonJoe Bates scored 19 goals for Malvern Town last season (Image: Cliff Williams)

On completing the signing of Bates, Gormley said: "As soon as I knew Joe [Bates] might be available, we jumped at the chance to get him through the door.

"We’ve obviously seen plenty of him at Malvern Town and he’s always done really well against us.

"Joe is a winner who has experience of getting promoted from this league, so I’m over the moon at getting this signing over the line. Having spoken to Joe, I knew he would fit in well with our lads and we can’t wait to get to work with him."

Bates, who had a couple of stints with City before joining Pershore Town and then Malvern in recent years, played a big part in helping The Hillsiders to promotion.

He scored a crucial goal against Raiders in Malvern's entertaining 3-2 win at Sixways at Christmas. A late penalty plunged a dagger into Gormley's side's promotion hopes at the time in what was a thrilling contest between the two sides.

But now he will be on side to attempt to guide Raiders to promotion from Step 5 and into the Southern League.