Hartlepool United manager Dave Challinor stresses the 'brilliant attitude' of ever present duo Nicky Featherstone and Ryan Donaldson

Dave Challinor has stressed the importance of two of Hartlepool United’s most divisive players as he looks to turn things around in the National League.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 6:52 pm
Ryan Donaldson of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Eastleigh at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 7th January 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)
Ryan Donaldson of Hartlepool United during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and Eastleigh at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 7th January 2020. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News)

Ryan Donaldson and Nicky Featherstone are the only two Pools players to have started every match since Dave Challinor was appointed as manager over two months ago.

The United boss admitted that he’s been tempted to rest the pair following a hectic festive period – but they’ve remained ever present in the starting line-up.

As club captain, dropping Donaldson would be a statement in itself while Featherstone is a player that has particularly impressed Challinor since he took charge.

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Nicky Featherstone on the ball during the Vanarama National League match between Dover Athletic and Hartlepool United at the Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover on Saturday 11th January 2020. (Credit: Matt Bristow | MI News)

Both players seem to split the opinions of Hartlepool fans yet the manager seems to have his mind very much made up.

“Players in football clubs will always divide opinion and when you’ve got so many supporters the divide can be even greater but that’s football,” said Challinor.

“Feaths has been here a long time but what he does is he just gets the club and the supporters which benefits him more than most.

“I think Ryan is very similar, they get it, they get what the requirements are and those two in particular have the club’s best interests at heart which is important.

“It means if they get criticism, they’ve been here long enough and heard enough of it to not let it bother them which is a brilliant attitude to have. Those are the type of players I want here.”