Hartlepool United captain makes honest admission regarding his lack of game time during promotion season

Ryan Donaldson was limited to just 14 starts as Hartlepool United captain during the club’s successful 2020-21 promotion campaign.

Monday, 12th July 2021, 12:30 pm

Having spent the two previous seasons playing almost every match, it was an unusual position for the 30-year-old to find himself in.

A plantar fasciitis issue in addition to the excellent form of the side prevented Donaldson getting a regular look in from December onwards as Pools mounted their promotion charge.

But the versatile midfielder was still able to play a crucial role in the club’s promotion back to the Football League as he dispatched a vital penalty in the promotion final shoot-out against Torquay United.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ryan Donaldson at Hartlepool United (photo: Frank Reid).

Donaldson is currently out of contract and has a decision to make regarding his future at Victoria Park but he has no hard feelings over a lack of game time last season.

“It is what it is and as you get older you think about the team more,” he told The Mail.

"I know the gaffer can only pick 11 players so I don’t want to make things difficult by being a bad influence because it’s such a good group.

“There are 23 or more players in the squad and that’s hard to manage.

"I know I didn’t have the best season obviously but I just stuck at it and I picked up an injury that I probably should have taken time off earlier to be honest because I was trying to play through it and that was stupid really when I think about it.”

In spite of this, Donaldson is understood to have been offered a new deal by Hartlepool amid interest from elsewhere.

And he has already admitted Pools is not a club any player will leave lightly, especially after the season they’ve had.

“The last six weeks of the season I felt good and the lads were flying so you’ve just got to try and support them and try and be ready to take your chance,” he added.

"It was a total squad effort and everyone played their part even if people are disappointed not to have played as much as they would have liked but everyone should be proud of what we’ve achieved as a group.”

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Hartlepool United coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor