Lambert fury at Walker agent

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert has laid much of the blame, for the Jimmy Walker loan fiasco, at the feet of the player's agent.

Carl Marston

Lambert fury at Walker agent

By Carl Marston

COLCHESTER United manager Paul Lambert has laid much of the blame, for the Jimmy Walker loan fiasco, at the feet of the player's agent.

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The U's had been hoping to sign Walker on a new loan deal until the end of the season, but were held up by last ditch negotiations with Walker's agent.

The result was that the Football League, in their view, did not receive the relevant paperwork before the 5pm transfer deadline last Monday week.

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This meant that the U's had to fall back on the less satisfactory option of extending Walker's original loan deal for a third and final month, to take his stay up to the maximum 93 days.

Walker will therefore be on his way back to West Ham after that deal expires - on March 5 - although Lambert is still hopeful that the matter can be resolved with the Football League before then.

“Jimmy's agent was stalling, even though Jimmy himself wanted to do it and I wanted him at the club for the rest of the season, and beyond,” revealed Lambert yesterday.

“We all knew what was going to happen, and yet it seems that the agent was still sitting on his hands. It kept going to and fro, although we still sent the fax through on time in the end.

“I have not spoken to Jimmy's agent myself, but the whole thing was frustrating.

“Obviously I'm pleased to still have him for a month, because he has been terrific for us. But I wanted him longer.

“Despite all the hold-ups, we still got the process moving before 5pm and we have proof that we sent the fax in time. We have that in black-and-white, although the Football League say that they never received it before the deadline.

“We are trying to rectify it, because I definitely want him until the end of the season, and longer if I can,” added Lambert.

While Walker has been impressing with the U's - just nine goals conceded in 12 appearances - the man he replaced has been doing just as well at his new club.

Dean Gerken signed on loan from Darlington on January 15, and has since helped the promotion-chasing Quakers to chalk up three wins from four games.

Walker's third month extension to his deal, at the Community Stadium, means that Gerken will also be able to prolong his stay in the north-east for another month.

Gerken has kept back-to-back clean-sheets in his last two outings, against Rotherham and Dagenham & Redbridge.

“Dean (Gerken) is doing fine at Darlington. He needed a run of games,” admitted Lambert.

“He needed to get his own career back in shape. He had made a few mistakes prior to us (Lambert and Ian Culverhouse) coming here, and his form has been encouraging at Darlington.

“It's just that Jimmy (Walker) is the most experienced keeper at the moment. He has produced a number of big, big performances.

“We have the same 24-hour clause to recall Dean if we want, just as West Ham have with Jimmy,” added Lambert.

Gerken himself is enjoying life at the League Two club. He said: “I needed a kick up the back-side. You can get a bit stale at the same club when you've been there for a long while.

“Having not played first-team football for a while, I knew I had to up my game and I think that I've done that. I think I've now got back to where I was about a year ago

“I know that I can go back to Colchester and fight for my place,” added Gerken. Darlington are away at Lincoln tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the U's trip to Walsall tomorrow will be a special game for Walker - he spent 10 happy years with the Saddlers, making 476 first team appearances before his switch to West Ham.

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