MICHAEL RAYNES has signed a permanent deal at Hartlepool United.

The centre-half moved on loan until the end of the season from Crewe in January, but his deal was ended when he suffered an Achilles injury just three games in.

Now recovered, there was a chance he would return to Pools before the end of the campaign, but he remained with his parent club before being released.

Pools have also tied midfielder Ryan Donaldson down to a new two-year deal, coming after defender Myles Anderson and midfielder Gavan Holohan also agreed new terms with the club.

Raynes was always high on Craig Hignett’s list of summer targets and has landed his man, despite concerns in April, when Hignett admitted: “Logistically and money wise we probably can’t (sign him). He’s on a few quid at Crewe and if I’m honest, if Stockport go up, I think they’ll be favourites to sign him.

“He did great for us, just what we needed.’’

Raynes, 31, started his career with Stockport and has over 450 senior appearances to his name.

In Raynes’ injury-enforced absence this season, Pools signed David Edgar to add experience to the back line, but the former Newcastle United man will not be having his contract extended and has left the club.

A number of players remain in contract negotiations with Pools and Hignett is believed to be in talks with another potential new signing on Friday.

Donaldson was appointed captain under Hignett and the midfielder told the club website: “I made it clear at the end of last season that I wanted to stay and I am delighted to get it done.

“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.’’