Hartlepool star Michael Duckworth keen to avoid video nasty

NEW ROLE: Michael Duckworth in action against Morecambe.
NEW ROLE: Michael Duckworth in action against Morecambe.

MICHAEL Duckworth is looking to avoid another video nasty when Hartlepool United drive home from Oxford United tonight.

The last time Pools faced a long midweek away trip, they were humbled 2-0 at Dagenham & Redbridge, a result and performance which left manager Ronnie Moore fuming.

Dagenham was an awful journey, especially after that performance.

So much so, that Moore forced the players to watch the full 90 minutes again on the long bus journey home to the North East.

Duckworth, who was restored to the line-up for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Morecambe, is hoping to avoid a repeat this evening.

“It is always tough to go a long distance midweek,” Duckworth told SportMail.

“You have to get the weekend out of the way first and then prepare properly for it.

“There have been a few long midweek away trips recently and it does take it out of you.

“Dagenham was an awful journey, especially after that performance.

“It was a shambles.

“We watched the game back on the bus and it wasn’t a good watch to be honest.

“We are looking to avoid a repeat of having to do that again – put it that way!”

Moore could opt to stick with his 3-5-2 formation tonight against the Us, if so Duckworth will again be in the left-wing back role.

It’s an unfamiliar one to him, with the 22-year-old being more used to plying his trade at right-back.

But after being dropped for the recent match against Burton Albion, Duckworth is just happy to be back playing.

He added: “I wasn’t expecting to get dropped but it happened.

“I worked hard [to get back in] and hopefully I will keep my place.

“Nobody’s place is safe, everybody is fighting for a space in the team.

“We are all fighting to impress and the manager is not afraid of making the tough decisions, he is ruthless and tells it how it is.

“No matter who you are or how good you are, if you are not worthy of playing then he will drop you.”

– RICHARD MENNEAR