Walker a big priority for U's manager

THE quest for new players goes on, but Colchester United manager Paul Lambert's main priority is to hold onto his loanee goalkeeper.

Carl Marston

Walker is the priority says Lambert

By Carl Marston

THE quest for new players goes on, but Colchester United manager Paul Lambert's main priority is to hold onto his loanee goalkeeper.

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Jimmy Walker's loan spell from West Ham expired last weekend - his last appearance was set to be the postponed game against Tranmere Rovers last Saturday.

However, the 35-year-old ex-Walsall stalwart is eager to stay at the Community Stadium, and Lambert does not want to lose such an experienced keeper.

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It is likely that the U's will try and extend Walker's loan spell until the end of this season, and it is hoped that a deal can be struck before next Monday evening's trip to MK Dons.

“I'm very keen for Jimmy (Walker) to stay with us, and we are trying to get something sorted out,” confirmed Lambert.

“I spoke to Jimmy last night (Wednesday), and also spoke with the chairman (Robbie Cowling) as well. I think that the most likely option would be to get him on loan first, and then see what happens at the end of the season.

“These things are never easy to tie down. In fact, I've never been involved in a deal that has been just plain sailing. It might take a few more days.

“The down-side of loan deals is that other clubs might then come in for the player. But we are trying to get him back in, and Jimmy himself is keen to come and stay with us.

“Jimmy has been a big part of what's happened of late, and he doesn't want to go back to West Ham and be third or fourth in line,” added Lambert.

Walker's arrival coincided with the U's landing back-to-back wins for the first time in 19 months. He made his debut in the second of these, a 2-1 victory at Northampton Town at the end of November.

Since then, he has kept two clean-sheets and conceded just five goals in six outings, helping the U's to burst into the top half of the table for the first time in four months.

Lambert could turn to either Dean Gerken or Mark Cousins, if the U's fail to snap up Walker before the trip to Milton Keynes. Both have featured under the Scotsman, although Walker remains his first choice keeper.

Looking ahead to the MK Dons clash, Lambert continued: “MK Dons are going well. Peter Winkleman (club owner) is a decent man, and they have a terrific stadium.

“But we have a lot of confidence at the moment and the Sky TV cameras will be there, so we will be up for it. We have already come a long way in a very short space of time, with basically the same set of players.

“I don't think that last weekend's postponement has lost us any momentum. The pitch was unplayable,” added Lambert.

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