Confusion over Walker deal

JIMMY Walker's long-term future at Colchester United was still in doubt last night.

Carl Marston

JIMMY Walker's long-term future at Colchester United was still in doubt last night.

The U's had tried to sign Walker on loan from West Ham until the end of the season, following a frenetic final day of the transfer window on Monday, February 2.

Chairman and owner Robbie Cowling confirmed last night that the Club had sent all the relevant information through on time, to beat the deadline by a matter of a few minutes.

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However, the Football League have disputed this, and so as a back-up the U's have signed Walker on a final third month on loan, which would take him up to the maximum 93 days. He will be in goal against Tranmere Rovers this evening.

“We are still in communication with the Football League at the moment, with regards Jimmy Walker,” revealed Mr Cowling last night.

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“Negotiations at the time were difficult and we did not receive the paperwork back from Jimmy Walker until ten-to-five, giving us just 10 minutes before the transfer deadline.

“But we believe we still made that deadline by sending off the details before 5pm, although the League are disputing this.

“We had initially explored all avenues with regards Jimmy, and in the end we decided to sign him on a standard loan until the end of the season.

“As a fall-back, we have signed him for the third month to take him up to the 93 days. The situation has been confusing, but we are still hopeful that we have signed him until the end of the season,” added Mr Cowling.

It would be galling if the Essex club had missed the boat, in terms of signing the experienced 35-year-old keeper during the transfer window.

Manager Paul Lambert had made no secret of the fact that he wanted to sign Walker on a permanent basis. The Scotsman rates him very highly, which is not surprising because the U's have conceded just eight goals in the 11 games that Walker has started, a hugely impressive record.

Former U's No. 1 Dean Gerken is currently on loan at Darlington. He signed on January 15, so his current deal will expire next weekend.

Gerken has to date made four appearances for the Quakers, three of which have ended in victory. The 21-year-old has kept back-to-back clean-sheets in his last two outings, against Rotherham and Dagenham & Redbridge.

If Walker does not end up staying with the U's until the end of the campaign, then it is likely that Gerken would be on his way back to the Community Stadium. Mark Cousins is the only other senior keeper on the Essex club's books.

Meanwhile, Walker will be gunning for another clean-sheet this evening, against visiting Tranmere Rovers. This is a rearranged fixture, after the original one was called off because of a frozen pitch just over an hour before the scheduled kick-off, on January 3.

The U's will welcome back striker Clive Platt after a one-match suspension, which caused him to miss the 2-0 win at Carlisle United 10 days ago.

Platt is likely to partner Scott Vernon up front, with Mark Yeates reverting to his more familiar role on the wing.

However, the U's will be without midfielder Kem Izzet, who serves a one-match for accruing five bookings. It will be only the second time this season that Izzet has not been in the final 16-man squad.

David Perkins is therefore set to move from the flank into central midfield to play alongside skipper Dean Hammond. Perkins scored the opener in the 4-3 victory at Tranmere on September 26.

Midfielder Johnnie Jackson (shoulder) and striker Steven Gillespie (hamstring) both remain on the sidelines, while Chris Coyne is away on international duty with Australia.


COLCHESTER UNITED: Walker, Maybury, Baldwin, Reid, Tierney, Gobern, Hammond, Perkins, Yeates, Platt, Vernon, Hackney, White, Guy, Wordsworth, Heath, Cousins

TRANMERE ROVERS: Coyne, Shotton, Chorley, Kay, Taylor, Sonko, Jennings, Edds, Barnett, Shuker, Moore, Cresswell, Waterfall, Henry, Sonko, Achterberg.

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