|view Duke's match-by-match record|
A Colin Todd signing, Duke signed on a free transfer from Sunderland after a successful trial spell during the 2000/2001 pre-season, making his debut on the first day of the season, in a 0-0 home draw with Colchester.
Despite being completely right-footed when he joined, Duke began his Town career in his preferred position on the left side of midfield - but after starting the first twelve games of the season, the departure of Todd in October 2000 coincided with Duke losing his place in the side. He started just twelve more league games that season, not helped by an injury picked up in March 2001, which kept him out of the side for nearly two months.
By this time, the Town had reverted to a 5-3-2 formation, and Duke found himself fighting with Sol Davis for the left-wing back slot. Perhaps luckily for Duke, Davis suffered with injury throughout the season, and Duke missed just four league games. Another formation change partway through the season saw the Town line up in a 4-3-3, with Duke in a left-back role. He took a while to adapt to his new position, and at times seemed exposed by the opposition - not helped by the lack of a wide midfield player protecting him. Nevertheless, he signed a new two year deal at the end of the season.
When the summer of 2002 saw both Davis and Paul Edwards leave the club, Duke was the only left sided player remaining, and during the 2002/03 season, he missed just two games, despite not being a particular crowd favourite. Another formation switch to 5-3-2 meant that Duke reverted back to a wing-back role, and he started to look more comfortable, especially on his left foot - earlier in his Town career, he would often cut inside onto his favoured right.
Duke again started the 2003/04 season as the first choice wing-back, however, by the end of the season, he found himself on the bench more regularly, as the result of the arrivals of Andy Nicholas and Brian Howard. As King's favoured replacement, Duke was always the first to be recalled to the starting line-up whenever one of the midfield was out through injury or suspension, and sometimes he was chosen ahead of Howard in away games, as a more defensive midfield option. By the end of the season, Duke had made 36 starts and seven substitute appearances, bringing his total for the Town to over 160 league appearances, and he was offered a year's extension to his contract, which he accepted.
With Nicholas out injured at the start of the 2004/05 campaign, Duke's place in the side was virtually guaranteed, though he did miss a match through suspension in mid-August, having been bizarrely sent off in a derby match with Bristol City at Ashton Gate, when he was booked for a tackle, then booked again for not retreating from the free-kick, despite the referee giving the go ahead for the kick to be taken. Having played in the opening fifteen league games, late October was a low point in Duke's Town career - when he was jeered by the crowd for a poor performance in a midweek match with Sheffield Wednesday, in which Swindon went on to recover from 2-0 down with twelve minutes to go, to win 3-2. The problem became worse on the following Saturday, when a feeble challenge from Duke in the area led to an equaliser for Torquay, who had been 3-1 down. This time, a majority of the crowd seemed to join in the booing - two minutes later, Duke was substituted, and admitted after the game to being made nervous by the County Ground crowd.
He responded well to the criticism, and the next few games saw him produce some of his best form for the club - scoring in the next league game at Tranmere, and then again in the following match, a 4-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday in the cup. He kept his place in the side right up until mid-April, when a formation change to a 3-5-2 saw him sacrificed to accomodate Grant Smith on the left side of midfield. He returned to the first eleven before the end of the month, but his season was ended by another bizarre sending-off, when he was harshly shown a red card for a 50-50 jumping challenge in the penultimate game of the season at Huddersfield.
The sending off proved to be his last action in a Town shirt - Duke refused a new two year deal on reduced terms, and was allowed to leave the club.
date of birth
left wing back
right wing back