Hartlepool can do a Wycombe and go from great escape to play-offs next term, says Michael Duckworth

Michael Duckworth in action against Carlisle United. Picture by FRANK REID
Michael Duckworth in action against Carlisle United. Picture by FRANK REID

MICHAEL Duckworth sees no reason why Hartlepool United can’t do ‘a Wycombe’ and go from escaping the drop to competing for promotion.

Gareth Ainsworth’s Chairboys stayed up last season by goal difference, avoiding relegation into non-league by the narrowest of margins.

Wycombe are right up there this season and proof that anything can happen

Michael Duckworth

Yet this season they have been transformed, finishing fourth in Sky Bet League Two having been pipped to an automatic promotion slot by Bury.

And full-back Duckworth wants Pools to take inspiration from their turnaround in fortunes ahead of the 2015-16 campaign.

Pools finished third bottom, four points above the bottom two, after a remarkable revival in the final weeks of the season.

Duckworth told SportMail: “We have to build on the momentum that we have gained these past few weeks.

“Wycombe are right up there this season and proof that anything can happen, I think we should look at them and target something similar.

“There is no reason why we can’t.

“They didn’t have a big budget this year but have done well and hopefully we can see a similar upturn next year.

“But for now we are just looking forward to next season.”

By his own admission, the 2014-15 campaign has been a “long” one by anyone’s standards.

And the Yorkshireman is looking to enjoy a few weeks off recovering following a tiring campaign but one that ultimately ended well, for Ronnie Moore’s Pools side.

Duckworth added: “It has been a physically and mentally tiring season and if we hadn’t had those four wins and a draw in five games in March, then we would have been down.

“The lads all stuck together though and thankfully the bottom two teams were still losing each week – someone was looking out for us!

“This year has been very intense.

“Last year we were comfortable at Christmas and then let it slip and went on a downward spiral.

“But this season has been far more intense as we were bottom for most of the year and knew we weren’t going to get out of it easily.

“We had to dig in and the lads, in the end have done well.”

Pools ended the season with a 3-3 draw at Carlisle United, a game that saw Moore’s side come from 3-0 down at half-time to salvage a point.

Duckworth certainly played his part, scoring a goal of the season contender in front of 2,200 travelling fans.

He added: “I wouldn’t say we ended the season on a high, but it was important to get something against Carlisle, for the fans that had travelled.

“The fans are phenomenal and have been all season.

“When we have needed them to be, they have always been there.

“We are a well-followed club, 2,200 coming away even when there is nothing riding on the game, the support has just been fantastic.”