For once, Colchester United keeper Sam Walker was a ‘bit shaky’

Sam Walker is beaten by Chris Humphrey as Preston go 4-2 up at Deepdale

Sam Walker is beaten by Chris Humphrey as Preston go 4-2 up at Deepdale - Credit: Richard Blaxall/Focus Images Ltd

Sam Walker has been outstanding for Colchester United, both during his initial loan spells and ever since he joined permanently from Premier League giants Chelsea.

The giant keeper has been the model of consistency, earning the U’s many points with some top-class performances – indeed, he played a key role in preserving the U’s League One status last season.

But Walker had a big off-day at Preston on Saturday, as manager Tony Humes admitted following the 4-2 defeat at high-flying Preston.

The 23-year-old could perhaps have done better with at least a couple of goals, especially Paul Gallagher’s long-range shot early in the second half for the Lilywhites’ third goal.

“It’s strange, because Sam (Walker) has been terrific for us,” explained Humes.

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“He has been absolutely fantastic for us.

“I don’t know whether it was playing here (at Deepdale), or just the game, but Sam just looked a bit shaky today.

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“That’s not like him. There’s few bits and pieces which have gone on around him, where he is normally very positive.

“But if that’s the first time we have looked at him this season, and said he’s been a bit shaky, then we have to hold our hands up and say there have been other times when he has been magnificent.

“He’s still a young man, and he is still learning.

“I don’t want to be too harsh on people, and I am sure everyone will look at themselves and say – could they have done better to avoid conceding those goals,” added Humes.

Walker has already rattled up 76 league appearances in a Colchester shirt, and played 135 league games in total when combined with previous loan spells at other clubs.

And despite Saturday’s blip, he remains one of the most highly-rated keepers in League One.

The U’s are in action again tomorrow evening, at home to Gillingham in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

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