Duffy’s brace against Didcot on Saturday probably underlines how important the pre-season is to him personally. Duffy’s season was a microcosm of the club’s; a curious mixture of success and failure. Any other season in any other division, his goal tally would have been seen as an unequivocal success, but in the wash-up it wasn’t because the ultimate objective of promotion was missed.
With the Twigglet coming in, Duffy has the potential of being left on the margins. When interviewed last year he was adamant that he knew what he was capable of and what he wasn’t. But that wasn’t good enough, because when we needed to score goals, he didn’t; as the miss against Exeter painfully demonstrated. There simply wasn’t anyone else on the pitch mopping up his failings, and nor should there be. He doesn’t have the luxury of saying that he’ll stick to what he’s good at. It’s like Billy Turley saying that he’ll do the goal kicks and let Chris Tardif do the shot saving.
Duffy’s acceptance of his strengths and weaknesses highlights the challenge he has in front of him. It is his attitude, rather than his fitness or ability that needs sharpening up. This is the hardest attribute of them all because few people, especially inherently arrogant footballers, are self reflective enough to change their mindset and values. But, in the end, if things aren’t going well he can’t afford to amble around writing the game off as ‘not his type of thing’ and waiting for next Saturday (or Thursday) to come around. He will have to impose himself on the game, or to use the footballing vernacular – get stuck in. If he doesn’t and the Twigglet does what he’s supposed to, there may be very little sign of him as the season progresses.