MICHAEL DUCKWORTH expressed his delight at being named in the York City starting eleven for the first time in the Vanarama National League since the opening day of the season.

Duckworth struggled with a long-term injury at the beginning of the campaign that halted his involvement in the first-team squad, with the defender recovering shortly after Neal Ardley’s arrival to York.

But following a family bereavement which saw Ardley opt to protect his players and leave Thierry Latty-Fairweather out of the squad, Duckworth was named as the starting left-wing back for the Minstermen’s 2-1 victory over Oxford City.

Duckworth completed 75 minutes before being substituted for Lenell John-Lewis, but admitted that he loved being back out on the pitch, and hopes it can be the start of a more regular role in the City set-up.

“It came as a bit of a surprise due to one of the boys dropping out, to do with their family members, so it was a late call,” Duckworth explained.

“I am delighted to be back out on the pitch, it’s been a long time since that first day of the season and I have been fit for the last three or four months now.

“I’ve been working hard in training hoping that when my chances comes I would take it, so it’s nice to have a positive result again and another late one.

“I’ve been a professional a while so I could tune in pretty quick once I knew, but I’m just delighted to have gotten the call to be fair.

“He could have easily re-shifted the team, so I am delighted. I don’t mind it, I will play anywhere.

“I have played there before but it was tough in those conditions, and playing a game you don’t realise how different it is to training day in and day out.

“When you step over that white line it becomes completely different with your match sharpness, I’ve got 75 minutes into my tank which is a bonus.

Duckworth also opened up on a hugely frustrating spell for the experienced City defender, who struggled for game time after recovering from grade three tear on the opening day defeat to Wealdstone.

The 31-year-old admitted that he had been frustrated, but having held talks with manager Ardley, Duckworth was feeling much more positive.

“It’s been very frustrating, I can’t deny that.

“This is my first year that I’ve been not used to playing, especially when I’ve been fit, but the lads have been doing well over the last eight or nine games and are unbeaten.

“There’s not too many complaints, I work hard everyday and I don’t sack things off, so I’m glad to have gotten the chance tonight.

“I was back probably two weeks after he came in, but Fallows is flying down that side so I can’t criticise him at all, he’s been unbelievable this year.

“The gaffer pulled me a few weeks ago and said that things can change quickly in football, and fortunately for me it did yesterday so I am delighted.

“We’re a tight-knit group now and we’re all good lads, it’s a good dressing room and everyone wants to work hard for each other.

“The results are starting to show, we have had quite a few draws but if we can turn those draws into wins then we will be fine.”

Duckworth was in line to start City’s New Year’s Day clash with Gateshead at the LNER Community Stadium, only to be ruled out by a chest infection to further his frustrations.

“Over the Christmas period I came on against Gateshead and I was maybe in line to play the home game against Gateshead.

“I then got ill, and I got a chest infection which kept me at home for five days.

“I was thinking that this is just my luck here, so it was a tough period over Christmas being poorly but there is nothing that I can do about that.

“I’m just delighted to get game time under my belt again.”