Colchester United keeper Sam Walker is “desperate” to start the season

Sam Walker makes a fine save during the closing minutes of the pre-season friendly against Fulham la

Sam Walker makes a fine save during the closing minutes of the pre-season friendly against Fulham last Saturday - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Sam Walker, who has been Colchester United’s regular No. 1 for the last two-and-a-half years, is “desperate” to win his race to be fit for the start of the season.

However, Walker is conscious that he doesn’t want to push his luck too far, and so risk aggravating his troublesome knee.

The 23-year-old was ever-present in 2013-14, and only missed one league match throughout the whole of last season, due to that knee injury.

Walker returned in swift time to play the final four games of the season, to help the U’s to avoid relegation, by the skin of their teeth.

But the knee flared up again, during the closing minutes of the dramatic final day 1-0 win over Preston, which kept the U’s in League One for an eighth successive campaign.

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Walker has made slow but positive progress during the summer, although he did not play a full 90 minutes throughout pre-season.

He did, however, get through 45 minutes of action last Saturday, in the U’s last major pre-season friendly, a 1-0 home defeat to Fulham, and also played for 70 minutes in a low-key friendly against Norwich City (5-0 win) at the Essex club’s training headquarters on Tuesday afternoon.

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“I feel pretty good, and we’ll see how I feel as this week develops,” revealed Walker.

“I’m just building up the knee. I feel strong, and hopefully I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for this Saturday.

“It’s a balancing act. I’m desperate to make the start of the season, but I mustn’t push it too hard. I must make sure that the knee is alright.”

The U’s kick off the new season with a home game against Blackpool on Saturday. Summer signing Elliot Parish is on standby to play, if Walker is not considered 100% fit to start.

In terms of his second-half outing against Fulham, which came on the back of two 20-minute appearances against Leyton Orient and Ipswich, in the previous two friendlies, Walker said: “I’m feeling very well, after getting through my first 45 minutes.

“I didn’t have so much to do in that second half. I was quite pleased with that, because it allowed me to work on a side of goalkeeping that I haven’t had that much chance to do, sweeping up at the back and playing it out from the back.

“I had one save to make at the end, which I was pleased with. It was a good, broad basis of goalkeeping.”

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