Jones hoping Walton won't be recalled by Brighton

Hatters boss Nathan Jones is keeping his fingers crossed that goalkeeper Christian Walton isn't recalled by parent club Brighton & Hove Albion.

Monday, 30th January 2017, 2:09 pm
Updated Monday, 30th January 2017, 2:13 pm
Christian Walton clears against Cambridge on Saturday

The Seagulls number two stopper Niki Maenpaa was forced off with a shoulder injury during his side’s shock FA Cup defeat at non-league Lincoln City on Saturday.

That leaves Jones’ former club with just veteran Casper Ankergren as back-up to first choice keeper David Stockdale, with Albion boss Chris Hughton admitting it may be an area he looks at before the transfer window closes tomorrow evening.

Jones is hopeful that doesn’t involve calling Walton back, as he said: “There’s a release clause in there for any eventuality, as he’s such an important member of their squad and they entrusted us with him, so anything could happen.

“It’s also the other way, if things didn’t quite work out then we could have gone back too.

“Now I had every faith in it working out and I’ve got a very good relationship with him and with Brighton. So if something does happen and they call him back it will be a last, last option available to them.

“We hope not, because Christian’s in a great place at the minute, but if that happens then we have contingency plans.

“We hope that doesn’t happen, because for me Christian is the best keeper in the league.

“He’s a Championship keeper playing in League Two and I’m very pleased to have him.

“We feel we’ve enhanced his reputation as he’s enhanced ours, so it’s been a very good fit.

“He loves it here, he’s enjoying it, and I’m very pleased we have him and hopefully we can do that right until the end of the season.”

Although Jones would love to bring Walton, who signed a four year contract at the Amex in June 2014, to Kenilworth Road on a permanent basis, he felt that was a talk to be had at another time.

When asked about the chances of signing him in the future, he said: “I don’t know, I wouldn’t like to speak about that.

“We’d like to take him, but what we’ve got to remember is he’s an England U21 keeper, he’s very well thought of in his club, the level we’re at at the minute, he probably sees himself being further down the line.

“So at the minute there’s no point talking about that as it’s probably not going to happen, but further on, you never know.”

Walton has starred for the Hatters this term, playing every single minute of Luton’s 27 League Two matches this season, plus six cup appearances too, although Jones had been confident that would be the case.

He added: “I knew he was as good as he is, because I worked with him for two and a half years, so I knew he could be as get him in the right environment and I felt we could improve him.

“He went out and had different kind of loans, for whatever reason it didn’t work out quite as well as this one.

“But we believed if we get him in here, he has all the attributes to be a top, top class keeper.”