Pools face up to potential absence of ever-present Ryan Donaldson

Ryan Donaldson receives treatment during Tuesday's win over Barrow. Picture by Tom Banks
Ryan Donaldson receives treatment during Tuesday's win over Barrow. Picture by Tom Banks

Ryan Donaldson is in danger of missing his first match since joining Hartlepool United.

Donaldson hobbled out of Victoria Park on Tuesday night wearing a protective boot after damaging his ankle in the first half of the win over Barrow.

The 26-year-old, who last Saturday scored his first goal for the club, has featured in every game since his summer move from Plymouth Argyle. Keeper Scott Loach is the only other ever-present.

But Donaldson faces the prospect of sitting out the visit to Solihull Moors on Saturday, when Pools complete their opening third of the National League programme.

Boss Craig Harrison said Pools will assess the ex-Newcastle United product and won’t rush to any judgements until the medical staff examine the problem.

“It was purely a precaution [to put him in protective footwear],” said Harrison.

“We’ll let it settle, let the swelling go down and then assess it.

“He’s landed awkwardly, we’re not quite sure how he is, so we don’t want to be presumptuous.

“It could be fine or we may need to investigate further.

“We’ll take a look to see how he is.”

Donaldson’s threatened absence follows on from an ankle injury for another of Harrison’s summer signings – Conor Newton.

The 25-year-old was hurt last Saturday as the squad prepared for the match at Woking.

Newton, who started the first six matches of the season before losing his place to Lewis Hawkins, had missed the defeat to Eastleigh the previous Saturday through illness.

The loss of the Geordie duo has, thankfully, been offset by the arrival of new signings James Thorne and Tomi Adeloye.

“It’s disappointing to have Ryan come off – it’s another injury after Conor was hurt in he warm-up at Woking,” added Harrison.

“It’s a good thing we have brought James and Tomi in. We do have back-up.”

Harrison says that Newton won’t be rushed and will be patient with his recovery.

“It’s an on-going thing with Connor, we’re not 100%,” the manager said.

“We’ll be governed by how he feels, it could be one week, two weeks, three.

“He won’t be available this weekend and we’ll see how it settles down, maybe getting him back on the training pitch next week.

“We’ll be assessing him day by day.”

While the news is not great over Donaldson and Newton, Harrison is expecting three of his squad to be in contention for next Saturday’s FA Cup derby at South Shields.

Midfielder Luke George, who has yet to feature this season, returned to full training on Monday, while on-loan defender Michael Ledger will be back on the Racecourse pitches tomorrow.

Liam Donnelly, away this week playing for Northern Ireland Under-21s, will return to the club on Monday.

“Luke has been back this week and Ledge should train tomorrow,” said Harrison.

“Hopefully Liam will come back from Northern Ireland duty with no injuries and we’ll have three bodies in the squad for next week.”