Scott Duxbury is back at Stockport County just nine months after leaving the Hatters – and he says it feels like coming home again.
Scott has been reunited with James Gannon having enjoyed an incredible season under the manager at Northwich Vics, reaching the Play-Off final, storming through SEVEN rounds of the FA Cup, coming within five minutes of causing an upset against League Two side Northampton Town and being named in the Evo-Stik North Team of the Season.
Scott said: “County is a second home to me, from the management through to the volunteers, and even though I left nine months ago people have kept in touch with me and they’re all really good friends, so I’m buzzing to be honest. County is like my second family and I was so pleased to get the call from Jim, to get another opportunity under him is fantastic for me.
“I left originally because I knew I wasn’t going to be playing under Neil Young, but at my age I just wanted to get back enjoying football, so Jim took me to Northwich and now to come full circle again is overwhelming.”
Scott initially joined the Vics on a month-long loan deal last August, before agreeing to take the brave decision to tear up his contract in order to sign a season-long deal with James Gannon’s side. And what a season it turned out to be.
James said: “I’m delighted to be back working with Scott. Like many people I was extremely impressed with Scott’s initial season as an 18-year-old playing in the Conference North and he’s had great experience for such a young player with over 100 senior games already. He was a great addition to my Northwich Victoria team and played a big part in an incredible 18 wins in the first 20 league games and an FA Cup run through seven rounds. Scott has maintained that consistency over the course of the whole season and was voted the best left-back of the season at the Evo-Stik North level.
“At the age of 20 and with such great experience I trust that Scott will re-adapt to this level quickly and prove himself once more a very good player at this level. I also feel that if Scott continues to improve himself as a player and athlete that he can quickly make further strides in his career and like many of our young players we hope that he become a full time player and plays at a higher level with ourselves in the new future.”
Left-back Scott spent time as a youngster at Blackburn, Burnley and Preston, but was released from Deepdale as a 16-year-old. He went to Myerscough College, where he did a Level Three BTEC Diploma in Football Studies, before taking a coaching qualification.
He signed for former County boss Ian Bogie in August 2013, on the recommendation of Alan Lord, having been a member of Myerscough College’s ECFA National Championship-winning squad. He went on to make 72 appearances for the Hatters, scoring three goals during his first spell at the club, and Scott admits he owes a lot to Phil Brown and Alan Lord, in particular: “Lordy has been brilliant for me,” said Scott.
“I started under him at Myesercough in the Floodlit Team, and him and Browny always liked me as a player. Then I was fortunate enough to get my opportunity under Lordy at County when he threw me in against Stalybridge, and I never looked back after that. I still want to thank him for that opportunity, because without that I wouldn’t be where I am now, returning to Edgeley Park.”
In his very first season with County, Scott was impressive enough to attract interest from Football League clubs such as Norwich City and his hometown club Blackburn Rovers. He even trained with Rovers, but any chance of a permanent move was ended by an ill-timed ankle injury. Scott said: “My first season was excellent for me, but in my second season I struggled a bit with illness and injury. I did my ankle ligaments and thought I’d be out for four weeks but I was actually out for three months, so I really needed to put that behind me last season.
“Now I just want to replicate my first campaign and really push on next season, Jim is looking to go for promotion, which is music to my ears, and I think we’ll have a really strong team and a really good go at it. He is the best manager I have ever played under by far and I’m buzzing to be playing under him again at County.”
Scott says his experience at Vics in 2015/16 has made him a better player, despite being two levels lower. He said: “At Northwich we had a tremendous season, we had a good strong squad under Jim and we all learnt to play in his image, we came up against tough opposition but we were all together and we just believed we could beat anyone. Look at the FA Cup tie against League Two Northampton: we dominated them for 80 minutes, so to concede three times at the end of the game was gutting, but I want to use that experience in the season ahead.
“Obviously I know Michael Clarke who’s made the same move as me, he’s a real character and a good lad – he was captain at Vics and he got all the lads together and we went on that massive Cup run, but we all knew there were other things going on behind the scenes and Michael and the other experienced lads just kept us all together.”
And Scott is already using Jams Gannon’s know-how to help with his own Under-14 team which he coaches in his spare time. He said: “I copy Jim’s sessions for my U14s, and replicate his training with just a few modifications to help my team out, they are such high quality sessions that he puts on, and they’re enjoyable, and that’s how players get more out of it.”
And Scott is confident that there is a big season ahead for the Hatters, with the National League North title firmly in his sights. He said: “I believe we can push for the Play Offs at least, or even the title. We’ll have a really strong squad, he’s bringing in some quality players and hopefully we can get playing in the way he wants and win the league at the end of the season.
“I’ve started my preparations already – I had a couple of weeks off after the Play Off campaign but this week I’ve started working on my own because I want to push myself and be as strong as I can at the start of the season. Jim is a great coach and a great manager, and I will put everything into it this year, because I love this club and want the best for this club.”