Aberdeen boss Barry Robson insists he never lost faith in Duk despite the striker’s loss of goalscoring form.
Robson reckons the 23-year-old can produce moments of magic that no-one else at Pittodrie can.
And he has backed the Cape Verde international to play a major role in Aberdeen’s bid for success this season.
Duk has struggled to hit the prolific heights of last season where he fired in 18 goals in all competitions.
The former Benfica striker had scored just twice this term prior to the Dons jetting out to Greece to face PAOK.
However he delivered in the Europa Conference League Group G clash with a superb opener to stun the Group G leaders at the Toumba Stadium.
Duk was pitched in from the start as the lone striker as leading scorer Bojan Miovski was struggling with a knock suffered in the Viaplay Cup semi-final defeat of Hibs.
Euro goal hero Duk is in contention to start against Celtic at Parkhead in Premiership action on Sunday.
Robson said: “I believe in Duk more than anyone.
“He knows that.
“We know what’s in there with Duk.
“Form dips now and again but that is football, it happens to everyone.”
Duk will ‘play a big part for us this season’
Duk scooped Aberdeen’s player of the season award last term for his goal contributions.
However he was an unused substitute in the 1-0 Viaplay Cup semi-final win against Hibs last weekend.
Duk had scored just once in 21 games until netting in the recent 4-2 Premiership win against Motherwell.
The striker has now netted in back to back fixtures where he has received game time.
Robson said: “People tend to forget that even the games when Duk is not scoring he is still really contributing to the team.
“He was still winning penalties and can do things in our team that no-one else can.
“And that is why he will play a big part for us this season.”
Bid to utilise entire striker pool
Leading striker Miovski, on 10 goals this season, was named as a substitute in Greece having picked up a knock in the semi-final at Hampden.
Summer signing Ester Sokler has yet to start a competitive game for the Dons this season.
Sokler was secured in a £300,000 transfer from Slovenian top-flight club NK Radomlje on a three-year deal.
Aberdeen also signed Senegalese striker Pape Habib Guèye from Belgian side KV Kortrijk for an undisclosed fee understood to be £500,000.
Aberdeen have made an official complaint to Uefa
Robson hopes to utilise the depth of his striker pool.
He said: “Bojan has been flying and Ester is a really good mover.
“It is so frustrating for Ester to try to get on the pitch as well.
“Hopefully we can get them on the pitch.
“You can see what we are trying to build.”
‘We keep fighting and moving forward’
Aberdeen will travel to Premiership leaders Celtic just three days after the exertions of drawing with PAOK in Thessaloniki.
The Dons ended PAOK’s 100% record in Group G.
Robson insists his squad will pick themselves up after that setback and go again at Parkhead.
He said: “We haven’t come out of this (Group G) with what I thought we deserved and that is the biggest frustration.
“I don’t care what anyone says, you have to realise when you see that the quality we are coming up against.
“The message I want to put out there is that I am so proud of how the players have performed in Europe.
“This is a new group who have not had a lot of time with each other.
“But they have fought so hard in Europe and are in a cup final.
“We also have a couple of games in hand in the league.
“We have some tough games coming up where that spirt will need to be there.
“I’m proud of how my players performed away against PAOK and Eintracht Frankfurt (2-1 loss).
“Now we are away to Celtic on Sunday.
“We will buckle down, keep fighting and moving forward.”