MICHAEL Duckworth looks set to be rewarded with an extended stay at Hartlepool United after his “seamless” introduction to professional football.
The 21-year-old signed a month-to-month contract at Victoria Park in August following a hugely impressive summer trial.
Duckworth told SportMail upon landing his deal that he feared he had missed out on a shot at a career in the full-time ranks.
But his performances for Conference North side Bradford Park Avenue convinced manager John Deacey that he deserved his chance at a League club and so a recommendation was made to Colin Cooper.
The Pools boss liked what he saw and, having secured the player’s signature at the end of last month, immediately installed the right-back in the starting XI.
Cooper revealed then that the player’s contract was being considered on a month-by-month basis.
But, after four matches in the side, Duckworth could now win a more permanent deal at the Vic.
“I was told that Michael was too good to be playing at non-league level by his manager,” Cooper told SportMail, “And he was right.
“It was evident very early on that he had something to offer.
“Luckily we managed to tie him down and I had no hesitation in putting him straight in.
“It’s been a seamless introduction and, for a boy of his age, he looks so confident.
“We need people who can handle a football and he can do that.
“He deserves his place in the side.”
Duckworth has been part of a back unit which have kept two clean sheets since his introduction.
And Cooper believes the foundations of the side are in place.
“We have to get the foundations right first in any game in order for the creative stuff to flourish,” he said as preparations continued for Saturday’s visit of Accrington Stanley.
“The non-glamorous stuff in football is the cornerstone.
“That’s when the young talented players can express their talent further up the field.
“I’ve been pleased with the boys at the back and we’ve looked solid in a lot of games.”