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McKenna: We're Really Hopeful Christian Can Stay Here
Thursday, 13th Jan 2022 15:04

Town boss Kieran McKenna says he’s hopeful that keeper Christian Walton will stay at Portman Road, his parent club Brighton having activated a recall clause in his loan deal earlier in the week which could see him return to the Amex Stadium after Saturday’s game at Bolton Wanderers.

Walton has been on a season-long loan with the Blues but with the Seagulls keen to cash in on him in the January window with his contract up in the summer.

The loan deal included a clause allowing the Sussex club to recall the 26-year-old with seven days’ notice, something they triggered on Monday.

Asked how Walton’s mindset has been given those circumstances and whether he is confident Saturday won’t be the keeper’s last game for the Blues, McKenna said: “Christian’s been great, I can only go off how I’ve seen him in training and obviously the game last week as well.

“I’ve had a couple of conversations with him, as has [goalkeeper-coach] Rene [Gilmartin] and I know the club are continuing conversations with him. I’ll keep the details private obviously, but I know Christian loves being here, wants to be here, he’s enjoying being here.

“I know the club are working really hard behind the scenes. Obviously there’s a recall clause in there, which has been publicised, so I know the club are working hard to see if there’s anything that they can do to keep him to the end of the season because that’s what I think is a really good outcome for all parties.”

If Walton does move on, the Blues will still have two first-team keepers in Vaclav Hladky and Tomas Holy.

“We have three senior goalkeepers at the moment,” McKenna continued. “Vac played against Wycombe and did well and kept a clean sheet.

“Obviously, it wasn’t easy to leave him out of Gillingham away because he came in and kept a clean sheet and you can’t do any better than as a goalkeeper from a statistical point of view.

“He’s been training well and I think he’s grown in confidence from the Wycombe game as well, having that good performance and that clean sheet in front of a big crowd. That was a big moment for him, so he’s in a good place and we know that he’s ready.

“Tomas, I haven’t seen play any matches yet under myself, but again he is an experienced goalkeeper who has been here a good amount of time.

“He’s been training hard, so we have a strong department and Rene is doing a really good job with the goalkeepers at the moment. They are all training well, they are all in a good place, and we feel like we’re in a good position in that department.”

Given that he would have Hladky and Holy available, would he be in a hurry to add another keeper should he lose Walton?

“That’s something, as I said before, we’re working really hard on and Christian going is something we don’t want to happen,” he said. “We are really hopeful that he can stay here and that something can be done.

“It’s the work of the club behind that to make sure that we have good cover in all positions, that we know what’s out there, that we know who is available.

“Especially in this month, we need to be very alert, we need to be ahead of the game, we need to foresee the different eventualities that might happen, and that’s something that we’re doing in the goalkeeping department and making sure that there are various options and possibilities for whatever might happen.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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OwainG1992 added 15:15 - Jan 13
Sounds fairly positive to be fair.
Under the new ownership and the likes of Ashton who actually understand the game I'm not as worried as I would have been under Evans.

Ryorry added 15:16 - Jan 13
Sounds hopeful, fingers crossed it happens 🤞🏼🙏

RegencyBlue added 15:25 - Jan 13
We are beginning to be run like a professional club should be run rather than the shambles we were under Evans.

Reading between the lined I’d say there are other targets lined up if we can’t get Walton.

dirtydingusmagee added 15:44 - Jan 13
hopefully we will be able to keep him, apart from his first game he has earned his corn .

Europablue added 15:59 - Jan 13
"I know the club are working hard to see if there’s anything that they can do to keep him to the end of the season". It sounds like they are looking for a loan deal. It might be good for us, but I don't think Brighton will go for that.

runningout added 16:36 - Jan 13
looking forward to the rest of the season and going to as many games as possible. Even if promotion seems a push, it will be interesting

JewellintheTown added 16:50 - Jan 13
@Europablue - or loan for the rest of the season and buy at the end depending on promotion maybe?

dubblue added 16:52 - Jan 13
Obviously I hope a deal can be done but not sure what a season long loan offers BHA so I hope we are open to more than just an extension.

cooper4england added 17:03 - Jan 13
I reckon Walton has sold he is not interested in being sold this winter transfer to then get a bumper singing on payday in the summer. If he refuses to move then Brighton will loan him out again as they won't want the wages so he'll return to us, maybe missing a couple of weeks. Then its just down to if we can afford him in the summer.

Risk for any player doing this is getting injured with no club to pay for rehab or wages coming in.

churchmans added 17:06 - Jan 13
Best keeper since bialkowski!
We need to sing WALTON
and please sign COLE STOCKTON from morecambe

Bluedocker added 17:24 - Jan 13
Can't we sign a pre contract agreement for him when his contract runs out.. Even if walton is recalled back to Brighton he doesn't have to go to another club if Brighton do agree a fee.

Billericay12 added 17:33 - Jan 13
Best keeper we have had for years. I think he is better than Bart as he commands his area better.

budgieplucker added 17:34 - Jan 13
There was some speculation that Tom Heaton (3rd choice at Man Utd) could be plan B for a loan to the end of the season. Then maybe we could agree a deal with Walton to join us at the beginning of next season with a decent signing on fee avoiding the cost of a transfer fee.

Brighton’s number 2 has recently picked up an injury that may keep him out for a while and they wanted to loan out their number 3, so the intention might be to want to keep Walton on the bench for them until the summer.

I know Heaton is 35, but he has always been a good keeper and gained a full England Cap (but then so did David Stockdale) but probably an upgrade on what we have

ITFC_Singapore added 18:00 - Jan 13
Agree with goalkeeper we have had for many many years, including Bart. I'm struggling to think of a better keeper we have had since 'Tommy'......Maybe Kelvin Davis, who i always thought was top drawer. Really hope we can sign him permanently......would be the most important signing of the season.

mojo added 18:41 - Jan 13
If it is to be another loan then perhaps we will pay a bigger portion of his wages which could be financed by Toto going to Fleetwood

blueboy1981 added 21:04 - Jan 13
Brighton are doing the right thing - they’ve had enquiries about him from elsewhere and will be looking to sell him before the end of Season i.e. Now !
It’s up to us now to do the business or lose out.
Neither of the other two keepers, whatever anyone says, is up to the same standard as Walton - and that makes HUGE difference to the defence !!!

Europablue added 23:56 - Jan 13
JewellintheTown That's what I was thinking. If we got promoted, we'd be able to offer a better deal, but I don't see what would be in it for Brighton. I think moving Toto on will free up a little room for wages, but then again, we might just be playing Tetris to be able to bring in a new player.

Bazza8564 added 01:47 - Jan 14
no precontract options because he oils have to move abroad todo that, there are lots of permutations and no doubt a fair bit of brinkmanship going on . If that’s the case i would back Ashton all day long to come out ahead….

arnoldmuhrensleftpeg added 09:32 - Jan 14
Hope we can keep Walton, but in regards to Hdlaky he might start to come good now he has a better organised defence in front of him. I am sure defensive frailties lead to goalkeeping nervousness, and therefore errors

Linkboy13 added 11:14 - Jan 14
Walton is an excellent keeper but to say he is better than Bart is a bit premature its far too early to say. Fans tend to Judge players on their last season and Bart did struggle behind a unsettled defence. Remember he was voted top keeper in the championship (golden gloves) in his first full season for Millwall. Walton is excellent on crosses but he should be with his height advantage but maybe Bart is the better shot saver two very good keepers.

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