Ryan Donaldson discusses the pressure building on Hartlepool United and reveals his thoughts on Matthew Bates

Ryan Donaldson.
Ryan Donaldson.

Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

Ryan Donaldson believes Hartlepool United need to start backing up their talk with performances to match.

Pools suffered their fifth National League defeat on the bounce on Saturday, against a Dover Athletic side who were bottom of the fifth tier pile before kick off.

This evening AFC Fylde are at the Super 6 Stadium as Matthew Bates’ men look to get their faltering season back on track.

And Donaldson admits he is fed up of all the chatter. He just wants the players to stop the noise and produce the goods where it matters, out on the pitch.

“I can talk all day but it’s just words. All that matters is what we do on Tuesday,” said Donaldson to BBC Tees.

“Everyone is struggling to work this out.

“But there is no magic answer to all of this. You can’t just expect things to change all of a sudden.

“Cleverer men than me cannot work out how to fix the problems we have.

“Hard work, that’s what we need. This is a hard job when things are like this. You have to dig in.

“Everyone has to do more, and more, and more. Only then will it turn.”

Donaldson, who played in his FOURTH different position at the weekend in a central role, believes demanding more from his fellow players is the only way to turn things around.

He continued: “The only way I know is to work hard. When things aren’t going your way you have to work harder in football.

“We have to want the ball. You have to challenge each other, encourage each other, demand more of each other.

“As a group we need to do that and quick. We have to start turning this around, otherwise we will be wasting the start to the season.

“We need more from everyone, myself included. We need 20% more from every individual.

“It doesn’t matter where I play I will give my all, always want the ball, even if I make a mistake. It doesn’t matter where you are on the pitch you have to want the ball.”

Pressure is building at Pools with criticism for the players and manager rife among Poolies.

Donaldson understands the critics and is prepared to take the flak.

“Of course there is pressure. But that is football, that is life,” said Donaldson.

“Everyone has ups and downs but you have to be strong enough to come through them.

“You have to put yourself forward, make yourself available every day.

“This is where we earn out money - out on the pitch. Every player has to be ready to perform and at the minute we aren’t doing that.

“We have to start games properly. It is no good playing when you are 2-0 down because there is no pressure on.

“You have to deal with the pressure - be a professional, be a player.”

Donaldson has been one of the star performers for Pools this season, no matter where he is asked to play.

On the left, the right, or through the centre, like he did on Saturday, Donaldson has been Bates’ surprise package this campaign.

And while the vultures circle for the young manager in his first real crisis in the dugout, Donaldson is standing by his man.

“I will play anywhere for the gaffer. I love playing for him,” he said.

“Play me in goal, I don’t care.

“We all just have to be better.

“It is a game of football - it is what we are paid for. We have to get out there and do it.”