COLCHESTER United were in a real mess, when Sam Walker first arrived at the club towards the end of January.

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The U’s had slipped from the top half of the table, into the relegation zone, in less than three months.

But the arrival of giant keeper Walker, on loan for the rest of the season from Chelsea, has had a massive impact on the U’s now much-improved chances of avoiding the drop.

The U’s have won six of the 12 games that Walker has featured, and accumulated 20 points from a possible 36 – that is not relegation form! It is mid-table, at worst.

No wonder, then, that U’s boss Joe Dunne has been quick to praise Walker, in the build-up to Good Friday’s home fixture against promotion-chasing Bournemouth.

“Sam does what he says on the tin,” insisted Dunne.

“He’s dominant in his area, which is something we needed, that physical change, even though Mark (Cousins) did well when he played.

“Sam’s acquitted himself well, coming from a Premier League club. And it’s the right moment for him, because although he had done a couple of loans before, he was young then.

“Of course he’s still young, but he’s now already played about 70 odd games, and so is just a season away from reaching 100, at the age of just 21.

“The timing was right for us to take him. So far its worked well, and Chelsea have monitored him all the time.”

The U’s last outing, a 2-1 win at Bury last Saturday week, was Walker’s 71st career league game, having also played on loan for Barnet, Northampton, Yeovil and Bristol Rovers.

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