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Keeper Matt Duke doubles up for Bradford City
Matt Duke reckons he has the best of both worlds as City’s first-choice stopper – and their goalkeeping coach.
Duke has returned to form between the sticks since being given the nod in the opening win at Notts County in the Capital One Cup.
Jon McLaughlin made his first appearance at Watford in midweek and turned in a reliable display in the shock win over the Championship side.
But Duke has currently got the shirt in the league and it would be a major surprise not to see him back out there at Rotherham this afternoon.
The experienced former Hull stopper has double the reason to be enjoying his start to the season.
As well as burying some of the demons from a difficult first term at Valley Parade, Duke is also taking his first steps into coaching.
Duke has been asked to do the job before at previous clubs but he had no intention of hanging up the gloves to take it on full-time.
But Kevin Pressman’s sudden exit for Millwall left City with a hole to fill – and Duke was happy to accept their offer as long as it guaranteed not to impact on his playing chances.
He said: “If I thought the coaching would get in the way of me playing, then I wouldn’t do it. That was always going to be my decision.
“But that’s not been the case and things are going well at the moment. I’m working together with Jonny and it’s a good arrangement.
“We get on well and push each other in training. Jonny’s looking sharp and I feel I’ve been playing well, so hopefully that continues.”
Duke was loaned out to Northampton last season after losing his place to McLaughlin.
It proved a confidence-restoring exercise and he has begun the new campaign like the keeper that Parkinson had been so keen to sign on transfer deadline day a year ago.
But Duke knows there is no room for error with McLaughlin on his tail.
“Obviously it’s nice to start but you’ve got to keep performing then. The good thing about the squad this season is that we’ve got competition for every place.
“If somebody’s not doing it then someone else will come in and I know Jonny is breathing down my neck.
“If he plays, then I’ll support him and likewise. We both know how difficult it is once you’re in the team.”