Craig Hignett discusses Ryan Donaldson's Hartlepool future and explains why he's handed him extra responsibility at Pools

Hartlepool United's stand-in skipper Ryan Donaldson.
Hartlepool United's stand-in skipper Ryan Donaldson.

Craig Hignett has revealed the thinking behind handing Ryan Donaldson the captain's armband - although he says it does NOT give any clues about the midfielder's Hartlepool United future.

Donaldson is one of a host of key first team players who, at this stage, look set to leave Pools at the end of the season, when their current deals come to an end.

The likes of Liam Noble, Carl Magnay, Jake Cassidy, Scott Loach and loan players Nicke Kabamba, Michael Raynes, Danny Amos and Luke Molyneux all see their Pools deals end in May and June this year.

Donaldson has been a key player for Pools this season and Hignett has revealed the midfielder's fiery side and his consistent performances have earned him the armband in the absence of Magnay and Noble.

But the manager does not want people jumping to conclusions about whether Donaldson will be at Pools next season.

Decisions on contract extensions is something Hignett is kicking to the long grass for the time being.

"Ryan has been one of our most consistent performers this season, and he is quite a fiery character now and again. I thought the responsibility would do him good and it did," said Hignett.

"He has been Mr Consistent. He plays a load of positions, is a great lad and trains well. I thought he'd benefit.

"Ryan is a good footballer and if we don't take him someone else will.

"It is too early to decide who we will keep and who we won't but Ryan is a good player."