Liam Kennedy: Donnelly defensive switch top of Hignett’s agenda

Liam Donnelly with Pools assistant boss Curtis Fleming
Liam Donnelly with Pools assistant boss Curtis Fleming

Liam Donnelly is a victim of his own success.

When he first came into the team he was outstanding at left-back.

Then, when needed, he was even better on the right-hand side.

Putting him in the middle of the back four was when he really came into his own, even though he stands well under six foot.

Last week he was thrown into midfield upon his return. And yet again, as we have come expect from the former Fulham kid, his performance was flawless.

The worry with players like Donnelly is that they will become a jack of all trades and a master on none.

That doesn’t even come into question with the Northern Ireland Under-21 skipper as he is already expert in a number of slots, despite his age.

You can tell he has been well schooled at Craven Cottage. And it would come as absolutely no shock if he receives a senior call by Michael O’Neill before too long.

While he will do a job for Pools in any position, manager Craig Hignett must find a permanent place for Donnelly.

And, to me, with the return of Nicky Featherstone to midfield, Pools’ need is greatest at the back.

Not wanting to be too critical but Scott Harrison has looked a little out of sorts in recent weeks.

It just so happens Donnelly’s best position, in my eyes, is as a centre-back.

His reading of the game, despite his lack of size and stature, makes him the perfect foil for the physical presence of Toto Nsiala alongside him.

Pools have missed his class at the back.