Dave Challinor on two players he'd 'love to keep' at Hartlepool United following new contract talks

Dave Challinor would ‘love to keep’ both Ryan Donaldson and Zaine Francis-Angol at Hartlepool United but admits any deals need to be right for all parties.

Saturday, 10th July 2021, 7:00 am

Pools are looking to tie down players in the coming days in preparation for the start of their pre-season campaign at Runcorn Linnets next Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Both Donaldson and Francis-Angol were said to be in discussions regarding new deals at Victoria Park when the club published its retained list last month.

Club captain Donaldson has been the subject of interest from Northern Premier League side Morpeth Town but remains a free agent as it stands.

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Ryan Donaldson with the promotion final trophy.
Ryan Donaldson with the promotion final trophy.

Both Donaldson and Francis-Angol were limited to mainly substitute appearances during the latter stages of Hartlepool’s promotion season but Challinor remains hopeful of keeping them at Victoria Park.

“I’ve had good, positive chats with both and we’re not too far away and I’d love to keep them both around,” he told The Mail.

"In order to keep them both around it needs to be right for all parties.

"In both instances, I don’t think we’re too far away but things can change based on circumstances and the stage of your career you’re at."

Until December 2020, Donaldson had started every league match since Challinor took charge of the club before being reduced to a squad player role for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Although Donaldson’s impact on Pools’ season wasn’t as big as perhaps he would have liked, the Pools boss remains a big fan regardless.

“Ryan is a brilliant character to have around the place,” he added. “He’s a manager’s dream in terms of the positions he can play and he understands the club and what we want.

"He ticks all the boxes of a player we’d like to keep but from his perspective, he hasn’t played as much as he would have hoped but he’s still young enough and has the ability to play a huge part for us at this level but he’s got a decision to make.

"Hopefully he stays but if not then, as with any player, he goes with our best wishes.”

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