Out-of-contract Liam Donnelly discusses his Hartlepool United future

Liam Donnelly.
Liam Donnelly.

Hartlepool United defender Liam Donnelly has refused to be drawn on whether he will remain at Victoria Park next season.

But the Northern Irishman did not rule out an extended stay at Pools.

Donnelly is out-of-contract this summer and is not expected to be short of suitors, with a whole host of Scottish Premiership and English Football League clubs checking the player out at the back end of last season.

On his future, the 22-year-old centre-half said: “It is going to be spoken about over the summer.

“At this moment I do not have anything to say on the matter but I am sure it will be spoken about between myself and the club.

“Then we will see what happens.”

Donnelly is hoping his Pools return on the final day at Tranmere, after an injury lay-off, will have caught the eye of national manager Michael O’Neill.

Northern Ireland’s senior side are set to travel to Panama for a May 30 fixture, as well as June 3 encounter in Costa Rica.

While, O’Neill’s side have not qualified for the World Cup in Russia this summer, they are set to provide these two Central American sides with warm-ups ahead of the main event, which commences on Thursday, June 14.

O’Neill has said he might give a few of his younger lights a chance to shine on the big stage, with some of his senior involved in Football League play-offs and on the back of gruelling seasons.

With Donnelly skipper of the under-21s and coming to the end of his time as a youth international, he could be at the head of the queue for a call.

He’s hopeful he will be handed the chance this month.

“If selected, there is a first-team trip to Central America I would love to be on,” he said.

“I was frustrated missing games towards the end of the season with a niggly injury.

“I thought I’d be back much sooner than I was but it was good to finish the season on a high.

“But the senior side are playing Panama and Costa Rica in their World Cup warm up games.

“The first-team manager has said he might bring a couple of under-21 lads in because he will give a few of the senior lads, who have had a long season, the time off.

“It would be great to get a call up.”

While Donnelly’s own future is far from certain, he is in no doubt Pools have made the right call in keeping Matthew Bates as manager.

“I know the fans would have liked us to be higher up the table but the manager came in with difficult circumstances on and off the pitch,” he said.

“Ged [McNamee] and Ross [Turnbull] have been unbelievable, too.

“The stuff Ged has done on the training pitch has set us up perfectly and that has translated on the park.

“They were asked to save the club from relegation and they did that.”