FC Halifax Town: Duckworth hoping for a return to Football League

Actions from FC Halifax Town v Aldershot at the Shay. Michael Duckworth
Actions from FC Halifax Town v Aldershot at the Shay. Michael Duckworth

Town defender Michael Duckworth is hoping his stint with The Shaymen can earn him a return to the Football League.

Duckworth worked his way up non-league with the likes of Harrogate Railway and Bradford Park Avenue to earn a move to Hartlepool, and has also played for Fleetwood, who Town signed him from, and Morecambe.

The right-back, who was at York City for 10 years as a youngster, said “a few” other non-league clubs were interested in him as well as Halifax.

“At first I thought I would have got some offers from league clubs having played 100-plus Football League games,” he said.

“But I just want to play football and Halifax gave me an opportunity to do that.

“I don’t have any bad words to say about Fleetwood - that’s football.

“I’m just aiming to have a good season and try to get back into the Football League. Maybe in 12 months’ time I can do that.”

The 25-year-old used to play as an attacking wide man but has adapted his game and now feels full-back is a perfect fit.

“I was an attacking player when I was younger, usually on the right of a front-three,” he said. “But I always thought I’d end up playing further back later on.

“As an attacking player you’ve got to have a lot in your game, but full-back suits me and the way I play.

“In my second year at Bradford Park Avenue I ended up playing wing-back and after that I went to full-back.

“But I enjoy playing full-back. They’re like the wingers in football now, which is probably why I enjoy it.

“It’s just all about positioning. It’s definitely helped me progress as a player.”

After being released by York, Duckworth almost fell out of the game altogether.

“When I was released I spent a bit of time out of the game and I was pretty much thinking ‘will I get back into it?’ he said.

“I was working on the side for my dad and in a bar but I gave myself another two years to get back into it and if I didn’t, I’d concentrate on other work.

“You do realise what you are missing when you are out of it.”

Duckworth is now back in part-time football after four years as a professional. When asked if he thinks being part-time in a mostly full-time league will make a big difference to Halifax, he said: “I think it will do, not so much now but maybe when we’ve played a lot of games and the lads are more tired, we won’t have that fitness because we won’t be training every day, so it does take it’s toll.

“But we do have a big squad so I’m sure if we’re rotating around that’ll keep the players fresh.

“I’m naturally fit so hopefully that won’t be a problem.”

Duckworth only joined Halifax just before the registration deadline for their opening-day defeat to Aldershot, but has seen enough in his time at the club so far to believe they can stay up.

“I think we should be alright this year,” he added. “We’ve got some good players - I know a few of them from playing against them.

“It’s too early to say at the minute but I don’t think we will be looking at relegation. I think we’re good enough to be clear of that.”