Duckworth proves his worth at Pools

The Northern Echo: Bargain: Michael Duckworth moved from non-league club Bradford PA Bargain: Michael Duckworth moved from non-league club Bradford PA

MICHAEL DUCKWORTH always believed his chance to shine in the Football League would come – and now he is desperate for his first goal in a Hartlepool United shirt.

The 21-year-old full-back was a menace to the Portsmouth backline on Saturday when he was actually Pools’ most dangerous player during the goalless draw.

Duckworth’s regular runs down the flank almost earned him the tag match-winner, but he was unable to beat goalkeeper Trevor Carson.

He is convinced he will eventually score, having played 20 times this season and showing more than enough attacking quality from his defensive role.

And given the route he has had to take to play professionally – he played two years in non-league with Bradford Park Avenue after his release as a teenager from York City – he knows all about being patient.

“When I was at York as a kid, I always thought I had a chance of being in the first team,” said Duckworth.

“When they released me, I wanted to keep trying to get back. Fortunately it has paid off! Hopefully the goals will come soon with similar work. The celebration will be good when I score.

“I had a chance when I got in the box against Portsmouth. I struck it well and I should have gone across the keeper. Hopefully I will get one sooner rather than later, a goal or two.

“I have scored goals in the past, I wouldn't say I am a prolific goalscorer! But I would like to have a few. I get chances in the game and I just need to keep my composure.”

Duckworth has not looked out of place at all in League Two, which is credit to Cooper for taking a gamble on him by offering him a deal after a successful summer trial.

Bradford PA boss John Deacey recommended the player to the Hartlepool manager and his performances have demanded he has stayed in the starting line-up.

Duckworth said: “It's not a massive difference in quality between the Conference North and this league, but it's more about if you make a mistake you will be punished.

“The tempo is also quicker, it's harder work. I feel I have adapted well to the Football League.”

He added: “I'm enjoying pro life every day in training. I am coping with it physically and mentally. I would never have thought I would have played as many as I have this year.

“I just need to keep my head down and work hard. I just need to keep working hard and driving forward.”

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