I Always Wanted To Stay – Donaldson

Ryan Donaldson has revealed that he is enjoying his football more than ever before and is thrilled to have signed a new contract to stay at The Super 6 Stadium.

The versatile 28-year-old put the finishing touches to his fresh deal on Thursday afternoon and he admitted that, once the offer was on the table, there was little chance of him deciding to go elsewhere.

“I made it clear at the end of last season that I wanted to stay and I am delighted to get it done,” said Donaldson, who made 48 appearances in all competitions last term.

“It felt like a different club when the gaffer came in – it freed everyone up a bit and it was probably the best we’ve played over a long period during my two years here so I didn’t want the season to end.

“I feel really settled here. When you’re out of contract there is always that feeling about going somewhere else and having to start again – that can be nice sometimes but it can be hard if you’re enjoying it where you are.

“I would say I have enjoyed it here more than anywhere, especially since January, so it was an easy decision – if Hartlepool wanted me to stay then I knew I would stay, I didn’t really want to look anywhere else.

“I feel like I have a lot of responsibility here, a good place in the squad, I get on with everyone; it’s a great place to be and I am at the stage of my career where I want to be settled so this Club is perfect for me.”

Donaldson suffered a frustrating debut campaign at The Super 6 Stadium when two ankle operations forced him to spend most of 2017/18 on the sidelines.

However, the former Cambridge United star revealed that he made some subtle changes to his fitness regime in a bid to come back stronger and that paid dividends last term when he missed only three National League fixtures.

“After the season before I tried to change a few things and really knuckle down to stay as fit as I could for as long as possible,” he revealed.

“I made little changes to the way I did things and I took up swimming on a night time just to give me something extra and stay on top of my fitness. I lost a little weight too, which has made a difference.

“I just felt like I needed to do something different because my first year here was a nightmare for me so the changes I made have, touch wood, worked out well and I just want to keep trying to get better.

“I played nearly 50 games last season and I am hoping I can play nearly 60 next year – that would be ideal.”