Many Perth Glory fans questioned the club’s decision to let first-choice goalkeeper Danny Vukovic go out on loan this week, but second-string shot stopper Jack Duncan got exactly what he was hoping for: a chance to impress.
Duncan, 20, has been biding his time at Glory this season after crossing from Newcastle, where he made his only previous A-League appearance off the bench in 2011.
He has worked hard at training under the tutelage of Vukovic and goalkeeping coach Neil Young.
Now, with Vukovic joining former Socceroos boss Graham Arnold at Vegalta Sendai until August, Duncan will be thrust into the thick of the action as Glory look to keep their slim finals hopes alive with a win over Wellington Phoenix on Sunday.
Duncan, who has represented Australia at under-20 level, said he was excited to get the chance to prove himself in the national league.
“I’m very excited. When I found out that Vuka was going, I guess the mindset changes a bit,” Duncan said.
“You start to focus on what you need to do on the weekend a bit more. At training sessions there is more focus on myself, but I’m very excited.
“Of course you feel a bit of pressure, but no more than usual.
“You kind of go into every game with a bit of pressure so it’s just a different game I guess.
“I’ve got to look at it as just another game and try to settle down early, get the nerves out and it should be all good.”
Duncan acknowledged he had big shoes to fill, with Vukovic having been ever-present between the posts since signing with Glory in 2011.
But Duncan felt ready to step up and took confidence from his existing relationship with Glory’s defenders.
Experienced duo Michael Thwaite and William Gallas will be paired in the centre of defence, while Duncan has previously played in Glory’s youth team alongside wing-backs Josh Risdon, Jack Clisby, Riley Woodcock and
“This is exactly why I wanted to come here, with the hope that he (Vukovic) might want to move on to bigger things and I might get a chance,” Duncan said.
“It was a big move for me to make but I guess it’s paid off in a sense, now I’ve just got to try and do the job.”
Duncan will use the opportunity to play in the next six games to prove his worth at A-League level, in the hope of securing a permanent spot in the team next season.
He hoped playing in Glory’s first-team would also give him better chances in the junior national team set-up.