Richard Duffy determined to prove he’s not at Port Vale to make up the numbers
IT has taken a long time for Richard Duffy to tick off the top four divisions of English football, but the defender hopes his spell in the basement is not going to be a long one.
The 26-year-old had played in the Premier League with Portsmouth, in the Championship with Coventry and Burnley and in League One, primarily with Exeter, before arriving at Port Vale this summer.
The Wales international has impressed when starting all three games at right-back, considering he has spent the last few seasons mostly playing in the middle of the back line.
But he insists the Vale faithful have not seen the best of him yet and hopes to help Micky Adams’ side continue to mix it at the top of League Two over the coming months.
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“If someone had offered us six points from our first three games we probably would have taken it, but in hindsight we are disappointed not to have more in the bank,” he said.
“This is league football so it’s a good standard, with good players. Everyone is right in and around the ball so you don’t get much time and it’s competitive.
“We have played all right so far, but we’re not complacent. We know we need to defend as a team, starting from the front with players closing down balls.
“And we also need to attack as a team. As I get fitter, I missed a bit of pre-season, I want to be contributing more going forward.
“I’ve played centre-half for the past two or three seasons, but I’ve got the buzz for playing right-back because it gives you that chance to be involved further up the pitch.”
Duffy came through the ranks at his hometown club, Swansea City, before spending eight years on the south coast, first with Portsmouth then Exeter.
He was a key member of the Exeter team in League One over the past two seasons, and a return to the international fold was mooted as he helped the Grecians just miss out on the play-offs in 2010/11.
However, when City struggled last term and were relegated in 23rd place, Duffy declined the offer of a new contract to try his luck up north in Burslem.
The versatile defender’s arrival in North Staffordshire has provided competition for right-back Adam Yates, aged 29, who has filled the role virtually unchallenged for three seasons.
Duffy said: “You know you have to maintain to a high standard because there are players who are ready to come in and take your place.
“In defensive areas we are kept on our toes when you see Gareth Owen and Joe Davis on the bench, while Adam is back now from a knee injury.
“I think there is competition all over the pitch. We have got a good squad and it means the ones who are given starts have to show what they can do week in, week out to keep their shirt.”
Duffy scored four times in 128 outings at Exeter and hopes his attacking instincts will flourish in a positive approach laid down by
Vale manager Micky Adams.
He played a role in Sam Morsy’s 14-second opener in a 3-1 win at Morecambe last Saturday, playing a ball up to Tom Pope, whose knock down found Morsy via Louis Dodd’s shot which was saved.
“We have been playing some attractive stuff, moving the ball around quickly,” he said.
“It’s all about scoring goals and we’ve been creating chances, getting the ball into the box.
“We have some creative players around the box and we showed at Morecambe that we can be clinical too. The important thing now is to carry that on and put together a run which can keep us up in the right area.
“This division is always tight and it is the sides who can show consistency who do well. We’ve had a decent start but we need to keep it going. We will keep coming in and working hard to get the results we need.”