Duckworth says he owes ex-Hartlepool boss Cooper a “great deal”

EQUALISER: Michael Duckworth.
EQUALISER: Michael Duckworth.

MICHAEL Duckworth says he owes a “great deal” to former manager Colin Cooper who plucked him from non-league last summer.

The 22-year-old got his first chance at professional football when Pools’ former manager signed the right-back from non-league Bradford Park Avenue.

He has been a revelation ever since and has been Pools’ stand-out performer in the past two matches, in particular, after he returned from a spell out with a hamstring injury.

Always looking to be positive and bomb forward, committed Duckworth also loves a tackle and is a firm fans favourite on the terraces.

He has told SportMail that he owes a lot to Cooper, his former manager.

Duckworth said: “The last few days have been different in the camp, with Colin resigning.

“We are a good bunch of lads though and have stuck together and we will do all season.

“I have to give Colin a lot of credit and I owe him a lot because he gave me that chance in professional football and believed in me.

“Whoever comes in now, another manager, then we all have to work twice as hard because he will see a different perspective.

“We all have to work hard to stay in the team.

“It is a fresh start now for the players and we have to kick-on from here.

“We had to show a lot of character on Tuesday night in Sam’s first game in charge and we just went out and expressed ourselves.

“We had nothing to lose,” added Duckworth who scored his first professional goal in the 2-1 Johnstone’s Paint Trophy defeat to Sheffield United.

The defender said it is now up the players to turn around the awful start to the campaign, which has sees Pools bottom of the Football League.

Just five league goals have been scored and Pools have picked up just eight points from 33 available after the opening 11 matches of the 2014-15 campaign.

Duckworth said the camp needs to “stick together” and with no new manager yet in place, new signings won’t be coming in anytime soon either.

He added: “We need to stick together, whoever comes in, the answers will be in our dressing room.

“The squad we have now won’t change and we need to go forward as a unit.”

Looking ahead to the weekend trip to Exeter City, Duckworth said it is vital the Pools players take the positive performance from Tuesday into their trip to Devon.

The right-back added: “We need to do the same things as Tuesday night.

“The result didn’t go our way but there were plenty of positives to take.

“We’ve got a long trip to Exeter so we will go there and do the same hopefully – we’ll plan right, prepare right and then go and do what we do.

“We have to be bright, give it 110 per cent and be positive.

“Hopefully, we can come away with something.”