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Dillon Barnes is a potential Colchester United No. 1

PUBLISHED: 12:03 02 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:03 02 May 2018

Dillon Barnes in action on his Football League debut against Swindon last Saturday. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Dillon Barnes in action on his Football League debut against Swindon last Saturday. Picture: STEVE WALLER

© Copyright Stephen Waller

Dillon Barnes showed last weekend that he has the potential to be Colchester United's new No. 1 keeper, if Sam Walker does leave this summer.

Enfield-born Barnes celebrated his Football League debut with a clean-sheet in the U’s final home game of the season, a goalless draw against Swindon Town last weekend.

Barnes looks set to be handed another first-team chance, in the final game of the 2017-18 campaign at fourth-placed Exeter City in Devon this Saturday.

And with long-term No 1 Walker’s contract expiring this summer, with the 26-year-old looking likely to move elsewhere after rattling up 200 league appearances for the Essex club, Barnes could be the man to step into his sizeable shoes.

The 22-year-old has clearly benefited from a couple of loan deals during the season, in the National League South (sixth tier of English football) at Welling United and Hemel Hempstead Town.

U’s boss John McGreal enthused: “We have monitored Dillon’s progress this season, and he has been loaned out a couple of times to play men’s football.

“He’s a big boy, a confident boy, and he distributes the ball really, really well.

“We’re hoping he will continue to work hard in training, and let’s see what this summer brings, and what this pre-season brings.

“He could certainly be in and around it.”

Responding to the question of whether Barnes could become a future No. 1, McGreal continued: “Yes, and that’s why we have hand-picked his development this season, knowing a few boys were coming out of contract and the situation with Sam (Walker).

“Sam has been unbelievable again this season.

“We’ve made Sam a good offer, and I’m still waiting for a decision. We’d love him to stay.

“But it’s well done to Dillon (on his League debut).

“He deserves his chance, having gone to different non-league clubs, and it’s been tough for him having to come back and play under-23s.

“He’s been really strong and he deserved his clean-sheet.”

The U’s are 12th in the table going into the final fixture.

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