Ryan Donaldson making Hartlepool United boss sit up and take notice

Pools' Ryan Donaldson in action at Wrexham. Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com.
Pools' Ryan Donaldson in action at Wrexham. Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com.

Ryan Donaldson is knocking on Craig Harrison’s door – and the noise is starting to get louder.

The Hartlepool United boss admits Donaldson is in his thoughts for a return to the starting XI.

The 28-year-old has been relegated to the bench for the last four matches, losing his place following the 2-0 home defeat to Fylde, along with Jack Munns and Conor Newton.

While Munns and Newton have not seen any action during the current unbeaten sequence, Donaldson is not totally out of favour.

Harrison has called on the Geordie in the second period of the wins over Guiseley, Maidstone United and Dagenham & Redbridge, plus Tuesday’s 0-0 draw at Wrexham.

While Donaldson has not found the net yet for Pools, his contribution has not gone unnoticed. He put in the hard yards down the right side in the hat-trick of victories but caught the eye with his attacking prowess at the Racecourse Ground.

There was nothing wrong with his defensive graft in his own half, but he was a danger going forward, making a couple of good runs – one threatened to take him all the way before being cynically tripped by Dragons skipper Shaun Pearson.

“Ryan looked good when he came on,” Harrison told SportMail. “He had two fantastic runs, won us a free-kick from one and put in a super ball as well.

“Ryan’s pushing and pushing – he’s in contention for a start.

“He needs to keep knocking on the door.”

Donaldson is an option for Harrison at Leyton Orient this Saturday. Devante Rodney has made way for Donaldson in each of the last four fixtures, tiring on each occasion after the hour mark.

Rodney has blown hot and cold and that is no slight on the teenager – the former Sheffield Wednesday youngster is still making his way in the business.

Harrison could give the 19-year-old a breather and unleash Donaldson on the Eastenders, with the former Newcastle, Gateshead, Cambridge and Plymouth attacker clearly champing at the bit.

To be fair to Rodney, he gave Wrexham’s defence an uncomfortable evening and even had the best chance of the night. He also set up attacking comrade Jonathan Franks with some fine play, with the top scorer unlucky to see his right-foot effort hit the bar – while Rhys Oates also had openings.

Harrison cleverly rotated his frontline in North Wales, with the trio constantly inter-changing positions.

It kept the home rearguard on their toes and it’s a ploy that the manager is likely to keep using.

“It’s something you have to work hard on on the training pitch,” he said.

“After Saturday, we have a couple of weeks with no midweek matches so we’ll be looking at it.

“It’s important that the lads are comfortable with doing it.

“Connor Simpson is probably a bit more of an out-and-out centre forward, but Oatesy, Franksy and Devante can all play anywhere along the frontline.”