Hartlepool’s Duckworth must decide if he’s a defender or an attacker

Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore.
Hartlepool United manager Ronnie Moore.

RONNIE Moore has called on Michael Duckworth to make up his mind whether he wants to be a defender or continue his more attacking role in the side.

The Pools boss says he currently “can’t win” as when he plays the attack-minded 22-year-old in the right wing-back role he has struggled to bomb forward and get crosses in.

Is he going to be a full-back or push forward?

Ronnie Moore

Yet, when Moore names Duckworth in the right-back slot in a flat back four, he spends more time in the opposition’s half.

The 3-5-2 system has been Moore’s favoured approach in the recent rival but with no wins in the last four matches, the manager is facing a dilemma over whether to stick or twist in the remaining three Sky Bet League Two fixtures.

Ahead of today’s trip to Luton Town, Moore has highlighted the problem as a priority area.

“The problem we have is not getting enough crosses in and if you don’t do that, then you won’t score,” Moore told SportMail.

“I cannot remember a cross in the first half [against Accrington Stanley] from either wing-back because both of them were playing in the full-back position.

“At times we had five at the back and we were at home!

“When the midfield players get the ball, it is no wonder they are passing the ball to each other because if they try to go wide then the wing-backs are in the full-back slot.

“If I wanted to play four at

the back, then I would have done!

“The encouragement is for the wing-backs to bomb on and do the right things.

“Ozzy [Neil Austin] is defensively minded but Ducks is so attack-minded it is untrue.

“Yet when I play him out there he wants to be a full-back, and when I play him full-back he wants to be further forward.

“I can’t win at the moment.

“He needs to decide what he is going to be?

“Is he going to be a full-back or push forward and play with some desire and not nervousness.”

Duckworth joined Pools from non-league Bradford Park Avenue in the summer of 2013 and impressed in his debut season in the right-back slot.

But he has struggled to reproduce the same consistency this season, with Pools struggling at the wrong end of League Two.

Pools go into the League Two clash looking to build on the midweek 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley.

An 80th minute header from substitute Marlon Harewood secured a comeback, something Moore is looking for his side to build on.

“We have to build on the late equaliser against Accrington, rather than dwell on the result,” added Moore ahead of the trip to Kenilworth Road.