MANAGER Ashley Vincent said he had been blanked by Joe Bates during his efforts to speak to Worcester City’s existing players.

Pershore Town announced last week that they had agreed terms with Worcester-born-and-bred Bates who is set to follow ex-colleagues James Baldwin and Matt Gwynne at King George V Playing Fields.

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The 21-year-old, loaned to Bishop’s Cleeve during City’s National North days, had been due to link up with his hometown club when they dropped to the Midland Football League in the summer of 2017 but performed a U-turn.

He returned to Cleeve where he bagged 14 goals in a team that finished bottom of the Southern League before rejoining City last summer.

Having found first-team starts hard to come by he went back to Cleeve before returning to Worcester at the back end of the season, finishing with four goals from seven starts and 15 substitute appearances across the two spells.

Bates became City's ninth summer summer departure hot on the heels of Kyonn Evans, a target for Vincent before agreeing to join Malvern Town.

“They were two different stories altogether,” explained Vincent.

“I did try to keep Kyonn, he knows what I think of him. Firstly he is a lovely lad and one who leaves his all out on the pitch.

“He is honest in his performances and sometimes that is worth more than any amount of ability. He is not short of quality but some able players don’t always feel like they have to graft.

“That is what I mean about the type of signings I want, yes they will have quality because I want that too but everyone has to know this is a team environment and that work rate has to be a given.

“Some days, even for top-class teams, things don’t work out but that does not mean you can shirk responsibilities.

“Joe Bates is a different story and I am disappointed with how events have panned out.

“I tried to contact him and heard nothing back. I then had a text from the (football) secretary to say he had chosen to sign elsewhere so I didn’t end up having a conversation with him.

“I wish him all the best and hope it works out for him.”

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Vincent continued: “I haven’t signed and would not sign anyone without having a conversation with them first to get an understanding of what the player wants to do.

“I need to know I am signing the right people. I am not doing it flippantly, it has to work for the club and for me as a manager.

“Some have worked out and those are the ones who are staying. When it comes to the others it may be about their reasons or mine.

“Joe didn’t get to the point of having a conversation and chose to go elsewhere so good luck to him.”

Bates did not directly address Vincent's claims but said: "I just want to get back to playing and enjoying my football.

"Last season was a bit up and down for me and I just want to get my feet on the ground for the coming season. I’d like to thank Snapper (ex-City manager John Snape) and Ash and wish them both well in their new roles."

Goalkeeper Dan Jezeph, striker Jordan Harrison, midfielder Liam Lockett and attacking option Ethan Moran are all contracted by City for 2019-20 with midfielder Josh Willis set to join them imminently.

Non-contract players Jamie Smith, Luke English, Chris Withington and Levi Andoh have all agreed terms with left-back Adam Osbourne set to return from Sporting Khalsa and 40-goal striker Demetri Brown committed to a switch from West Midlands (Regional) League champions Tividale.

Callum McFarlane, Jamal Lawrence, James Lemon and retired pair Sam Gilder and Mat Birley are City's other departures.