Hartlepool United retained list: Nine players released by Pools

Rob Jones: Played just five times this season.

Rob Jones: Played just five times this season.

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Hartlepool United have announced their retained list - and there are no great shocks.

Billy Paynter had already announced his departure after two seasons at Pools when he took to Twitter yesterday to say farewell, while young midfielder Kieran Green left to join National League neighbours and rivals Gateshead.

And today Ben Dudzinski, Rob Jones, James Martin, Jake Orrell, Ben Pollock, Jordan Richards and Connor Smith were told they were leaving the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

A Pools statement read: "We would like to thank all of those players listed above for their efforts during their time with Hartlepool United and wish them all the very best for the future."

Pools have offered new contracts to Carl Magnay, Rhys Oates and Brad Walker, while an option on the contract of Devante Rodney, who scored twice in the dramatic 2-1 last-day victory over Doncaster, has been taken up by the club.

There could not be many surprises anyway given the majority of the squad were under contract for next season.

Jones was always going to be heading out of the club after an injury-ravaged campaign.

The 37-year-old was superb for the club last season, playing a key role in the spring revival under Craig Hignett.

He looked like being a good squad man this season, but made only five appearances and finished only one game, and that was the opening match of the season.

Dudzinski, Martin, Orrell and Pollock were all signed last summer, then boss Craig Hignett viewing them as players for the future.

But the quartet managed a combined Football League total of four appearances, left-back Martin making three of them.

Keeper Dudzinski and lively forward Orrell both featured on the bench though did not come on, Orrell making a late FA Cup sub appearance.

Centre-back Pollock, signed from Newcastle United, did not play in the league at all and had just two Checkatrade Trophy appearance to his name.

Richards, Pools current longest-serving player, looked under threat given the emergance of Kenton Richardson at right-back and the presence of Magnay and Liam Donnelly in the squad.

Having come through the youth team, the Sunderland-born right-sided player made his debut in League One in 2012 and went on to make 67 appearances, including 21 this season.

He was sent out on loan to Alfreton by Dave Jones but recalled by interim boss Matthew Bates for the final away match at Cheltenham, where he performed well.

Smith, like Richards, came through the youth set-up, making his debut as a 17-year-old at the end of the 2013-14 season.

The Teessider, a lively attacking player, has featured, at some point, for all of his managers but was never able to get a sustained run of games.

He impressed Jones on his arrival at the club, the new boss picking him in his squad at Newport, where he was one of the players to emerge with any credit in a 3-1 defeat, but he was never seen again.