MICHAEL Duckworth feared he may have missed out on his shot at professional football – but he refused to give up on his dream.
Today, the 21-year-old is struggling to contain his glee having realised his ultimate ambition.
Duckworth was yesterday rewarded with a pro deal at Victoria Park after a successful trial period in which he had impressed management, team-mates and supporters alike.
And the Yorkshireman told SportMail: “This what I have always wanted.
“I must admit there were times when I perhaps thought I’d missed the boat.
“Most lads are picked up at 16 or 17 at the latest and I was still in non-league at 21.
“But I never gave up and I always believed in myself.
“I always used that as a motivation to get a pro deal and I never got down on myself.
“So this is a dream come true.”
Duckworth, with the aid of his parents, funded his own transport and living expenses during a six-week trial at Maiden Castle.
Like fellow trialist Nialle Rodney, he has signed a month-to-month contract.
And that, he says, increases the stakes from the off.
“I’ve got to hit the ground running and impress,” he said, “Starting with Fleetwood tomorrow.
“I hope I’m involved in some way because I’m definitely ready.
“I’ve had my pre-season here and I think I’ve done well.
“So with my contract being monthly I need to do the best I can, in training every day and hopefully in matches.”
He went on: “This is my chance now.
“My mam and dad have really helped me the past six weeks because it’s difficult when you haven’t got a job.
“But this is my dream and that’s why I gave it everything I had.”