Excuses and emulating Leyton Orient & Salford - Ryan Donaldson pulls no punches in his assessment of Hartlepool United's National League disappointments
Ryan Donaldson admits too many excuses have been made for Hartlepool United's poor National League performance over the last two years.
And the skipper, who remains in negotiations over a new deal at the Super 6 Stadium, knows taking a leaf out of Salford and Leyton Orient's book is the only way to get out of the division.
Consistency has been a massive issue for Pools over the course of the last two years. Small peaks in performance are often followed by long, deep troughs.
Donaldson knows Pools, on their day last season, were as good as Orient and the Ammies, but there is a reason why Hartlepool finished 17th in the National League, and the other two are already making preparations for the Football League next term.
When asked to summarise his two-year stay at Pools, Donaldson said: "It's been frustrating. I think there has been enough for us to finish higher in the league, but we haven't done that and the table doesn't lie, does it?
"We’ve been in a similar position both seasons so you know you can look off the pitch and stuff but on the pitch we need to be better.
"We need to raise our standards - we’ve just not been consistent enough. Last season we had a good run at the start, but haven’t really had one of again, where you keep climbing and climbing and climbing. For us it is win a couple, lose a couple. That's just not good enough.
"Too many draws kill you at this level. In 46 games we had 15 draws - you are better off winning 5 and losing 10."
One of Donaldson's former clubs Gateshead have been picking up a lot of headlines in the north east press over the last six months - much like Pools did 12 months previous.
And while Heed used all of their uncertainty to galvanise, and keep a play-off push on the cards to the final week of the season, Donaldson admits he's been disappointed Pools were unable to use their own struggles as a uniting factor.
"It hasn’t (united Pools), like you say that’s down to us on the pitch really," he said.
"We’re not looking for excuses - I mean you can use them all if you want, but a career is just too short.
"We’ve got to be better, we’ve got to be better more often, I think we’ve been really good at times but over patches in games.
"Where we’ve had a half an hour spell and played really well or twenty minutes here and there - it just shouldn't happen.
"You want to be a Leyton Orient or a Salford - their bad games they won’t play terrible - they’ll do alright and maybe nick a result.
"I think our bad games, we haven’t played well in too many patches. It’s been disappointing, it just kills momentum when you get on a run of defeats it’s really hard to come back from.”