Goalkeeper Duke: Joining Cobblers was my toughest ever decision

BIG DECISION - goalkeeper Matt Duke has signed for the Cobblers

BIG DECISION - goalkeeper Matt Duke has signed for the Cobblers

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Matt Duke has described his decision to sign for the Cobblers as the toughest he has made in his footballing career.

The 35-year-old finally agreed terms on a two-year deal at Sixfields this week, where he will replace Lee Nicholls as the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.

Duke played 33 times for Bradford City last season and was on their bench for the npower League Two play-off final win over Northampton.

He also had a contract offer from the Bantams, which would have extended his time at Valley Parade and included provisions for the coaching he has been doing with the club.

But Duke was aware he would be playing second fiddle to Jon McLaughlin, and opted for the switch to the Cobblers to maintain his playing career.

“It was probably the toughest decision I’ve had to make in football and I’ve been thinking about it all summer,” Duke told the Bradford Telegraph and Argus.

“You go away after the season to relax but it’s been on my mind all the time. I’ve had to sit down and have a real think about what I want to do.

“Northampton has always been on the cards. Bradford offered me something I wasn’t particularly happy with and the gaffer said I could pursue other areas.

“But I’m very sad to be leaving Bradford – they are a fantastic club with a great fanbase and the lads were different class.”

And he added: “It’s purely a footballing decision. I’m going to Northampton to play football and I’m not ready to pursue the coaching yet.”

Duke made his name with Bradford last season during their glorious Capital One Cup run but is well liked in Northampton too, after a nine-game loan spell in 2012.

And the positive impression both parties made on each other has lasted.

“I was very impressed with how he (Aidy Boothroyd) works when I went down there on loan,” he said. “Once I’d made up my mind to leave Bradford, it was easy in the end to decide to work with him again.”