Ronnie Moore made five changes to his starting XI for tonight's League Two 'six-pointer' with Stevenage.
The Hartlepool United boss welcomed back Billy Paynter, the club captain being paired up front with loan signing Luke James.
It was Paynter's first league start since the 2-0 defeat at Wimbledon on the last Saturday in October and James's first start since August 2014!
Nathan Thomas started on the left after a supersub showing against Exeter last time out.
Carl Magnay also came into the side, joining Jake Gray in the centre of midfield.
Bates took over at the heart of the defence from Scott Harrison.
Pools: Carson, Richards, Bates, Jackson, Carroll, Magnay, Gray, Hawkins, Thomas, Paynter, James.
Subs: Bartlett, Harrison, Jones, Laurent, Featherstone, Fenwick, Bingham
Stevenage: Jones, Wilkinson, Henry, Wells, Ogilvie, Parrett, Lee, Keane, Hedges, O'Connor, Pett
Subs: Cox, Franks, Zanzala, Day, Johnson, Conlon, Gorman
Referee: B Toner