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Bradford Park Avenue reaping the benefits of links with full-time clubs
Michael Duckworth learned his trade at Bradford Park Avenue but played his part in Bradford City’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy exit this week as part of the Hartlepool United team that dumped the Bantams out.
Having starred as Avenue’s right back last season, he has taken to life in the pro game like a duck to water.
However, no money will be floating downstream to the club that helped him spread his wings.
Avenue boss John Deacey, who plucked Duckworth from the amateur ranks, invested a lot in the young man in terms of time and effort.
Duckworth arrived as a forward-thinking midfielder, but Deacey spotted his potential and turned him into a class defender.
Deacey confirmed: “Unfortunately Avenue won’t get a penny out of the deal but I’m delighted for the lad.
"We don’t stand in anybody’s way here - if there is a chance for them to step up and play at a higher level, we will help them. At the end of the day it’s good for Avenue, even if it’s just for the publicity.
“Michael did really well for us once we found his best position, and I’m glad he got the opportunity.
"Colin (Cooper, Hartlepool manager and former Bantams coach) is a good mate of mine and he will look after us.
"There will be a match (between the clubs) and he has a couple of young players who could come to us for a while if the circumstances are right.”
While Deacey is happy, on a football level, for the player, he is disappointed that there was no transfer fee to boost his budget as he tries to steer Avenue towards a play-off finish in the Conference North.
The Avenue manager is glad of his friendship with Cooper but he is also building links with his near neighbours.
Deacey has Louie Swain on loan at the moment and hopes the young forward is allowed a long spell at Horsfall Stadium.
“The lad was brilliant for us last Saturday, he really made a big difference,” said Deacey, who brought Swain on as a half-time substitute following his recent injury and saw his ten men earn a draw from being 3-0 down.
“He is with us for a month initially but I hope he stays around a bit more - it will be good for Avenue and, in the long run, for City. The lad is gaining match fitness and experience so City will be getting a better player back.
“I have a great relationship with Phil (Parkinson) and he has been fantastic with us, which is nice. I think it’s important for both clubs in the city to be on good terms because it can only benefit everyone.
“We are playing at a high level, and close links will help the development of their footballers and maybe give our lads a way into the full-time game.”
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