Ryan Donaldson discusses his Hartlepool United future as contract nears end

Out-of-contract Ryan Donaldson admits he’d be “silly” not to consider a new deal at Hartlepool United.

By Liam Kennedy
Friday, 08 February, 2019, 08:04
Ryan Donaldson reacts during the Vanarama National League match between Hartlepool United and AFC Fylde at Victoria Park, Hartlepool on Tuesday 27th November 2018. (Credit: Mark Fletcher | MI News & Sport Ltd) ©MI News & Sport Ltd Tel: +44 7752 571576 e-mail: markf@mediaimage.co.uk Address: 1 Victoria Grove, Stockton on Tees, TS19 7EL

Pools’ stand-in skipper is one of a number of high-profile players who could find themselves without a club this summer, with Donaldson’s two-year deal coming to an end in June.

And the former Newcastle United midfielder has revealed he’d be more than happy to extend his stay at the Super 6 Stadium under manager Craig Hignett.

“I certainly would like to stay,” said the 27-year-old.

“I knew when I signed it would be difficult, probably not as difficult as it has been mind.

“If you are here when this club turns around it will be a great place to play.

“I want to be here but all I can is get my head down, stay fit, play and try and win as many games as possible.

“If they put an offer to me I would be silly not to look at it.

“The way the club is going off the pitch, we have got to match it on it.”

Donaldson has been Pools’ Mr Consistent this season, slotting into a number of key roles in the starting XI across the campaign.

It’s that form, versatility and the player’s fiery streak which saw manager Hignett trust the player with the armband in Pools’ win over Braintree Town last time out.

“It was a surprise,” said Donaldson, who is likely to hand back duties to Carl Magnay against Leyton Orient this weekend.

“I was just getting changed and Ged (McNamee) came over to me to say ‘the gaffer wants you to take them out today’.

“My first question was ‘what do I have to do?’ I have not done anything like that since I was at under-18s at Newcastle.

“I had to do teamsheets, meet the ref, I didn’t know what was going on,” he joked.

“It was a different experience. It doesn’t change how you play but I enjoyed it.

“Captaining this team, this club, I didn’t feel it til after but I was very proud. 

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“It is one win out of one, I don’t want it back. A winning record, someone else can have it.”

All joking aside it’s hard to imagine a Hartlepool United team without Donaldson in it - he’s been so key to the team’s play.

Left-back, right-back, central midfield, winger - if Donaldson’s been asked he’s produced the goods.

Being Pools’ Jack of all trades is one Donaldson is happy to accept, but he says it’s a double-edged sword.

“It is a double edged sword. I think my versatility has been a help and a hindrance in my career so far,” he said.

“I have always played but maybe not quite always nailed down a position.

“If I went to the gaffer and said I only wanted to play one position, I don’t think that reflects well. It is a problem but a nice problem.

“I am confident I can play well anywhere. I never just want to fill a hole,

“I want to do well, wherever I play. And I think I have done that this season.

“I have been fit most of the season which has helped. I feel like I have taken on a bit more responsibility in the team this year, mostly because I have not had too many injuries.

“It has been a good season for me personally. It’s just a shame we have not been able to kick on as a team this season.”

When pushed on where he sees himself playing, in an ideal world, at Pools, it’s probably the spot where he ended the day against Braintree - out on the right of a five.

“It is probably my preference to play out wide,” he said.

“I have played all my career out there and I feel you get that bit more space to play, you can play at your own speed. In the middle it is hard, I do enjoy that too but I like the freedom wide. That’s probably been where my football has been best.”

Pools take on top of the table Leyton Orient at the Super 6 Stadium tomorrow. Kick off is at 3pm.