Matthew Bates admits he will not rush Ryan Donaldson back to starting action too soon.

The former Newcastle United, Gateshead and Cambridge man got the final quarter of an hour of Pools loss to Guiseley on Monday, having spent six months on the sidelines with an ankle problem which required two operations to fix. And Bates says if he’d had a bigger squad he would never have thrown the 26-year-old in so soon after a long-term absence.

But needs must at Pools with such a threadbare squad and Donaldson will continue to be eased into action, with a starting spot understood to still be some way off.

“We are easing him back,” said Bates. “With a bigger squad he would not have been back yet.

“He did well and on one occasion could have had a goal. Ryan has had a few set-backs along the road, getting back into the side will be good for him.”

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