Football Gibraltar caught up with St Joseph’s and Gibraltar striker JP Duarte ahead of this weekend’s big match between Saints and Europa FC, talking about the striker’s recent form, his club’s push for European football, the big match this weekend and potentially working his way back into the national squad.
When asked about the recent form Duarte has found himself in for his club, the striker said: “I’m really happy that I’ve finally left behind the injury which kept me from playing for so long last season; its been a long and tough road. I think my performances have been good although I know I still can give the team much more and this motivates me. The last game vs Glacis is only my 4th full 90 minute Premier game this season and I’m feeling sharper and better with every game I play. I’m working hard in training sessions and this is being shown on the pitch.”
St Joseph’s are third in the league, chasing European football both in the league, and also in the Rock Cup where they take on Mons Calpe in the second round. “We have a great group of players and backroom staff who are working really hard to achieve this (European football). We are taking one game at a time and not thinking ahead, every game is a final for us. Its going to be tough until the end of the season but I’m confident that if we carry on with the work and mentality we are all putting into training sessions and matches we will achieve this.”
This weekend’s big match sees second vs third as Europa take on St Joseph’s on Saturday evening. We asked Duarte how he rated his team’s chances in the match. “Europa are a very good team… but so are we! If we work hard how we have been doing all season we will definitely have a chance. It will be an evenly contested game and hopefully we can come out on top.”
It has been a while since Duarte last made the national team, largely down to the aforementioned injury issues. With the striker back fit and firing, there’s a good chance that he may add to the nine caps he’s already earned. “My aim is to get back in the squad. I’m working very hard for this and theres no better feeling than representing your country. Right now I’m concentrated in doing my best for my club, I’m sure that if I carry on working hard and performing well with St Josephs good things will come my way.”