Matthew Bates believes Liam Donnelly can develop into a top player after his Hartlepool United exit – but says he was less bothered by the exit of Devante Rodney, say The Hartlepool Mail.

Pools boss Bates has opened up with his thoughts on the departure of the two players, who quit the club earlier this month. Both men commanded a fee when they left for Motherwell, in Donnelly’s case, and National League rivals Salford City with Rodney.

And despite offering deals to the pair, Bates has revealed he has mixed feelings about their exit.

On Donnelly, Bates believes the sky is the limit for Northern Ireland under-21 skipper. “We really liked Liam,” said Bates. “We know he is better than this level and we wanted him to stay.

“There was interest in him last January and I think deep down we knew he wanted to leave.

“We have no problems with that, he gave his all for this football club and we can only wish him well.”

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