Walker tipped to follow in footsteps of Gray and Gayle

Charlie Walker saw this lob bounce off the bar
Charlie Walker saw this lob bounce off the bar

Luton first team coach Hakan Hayrettin believes striker Charlie Walker could emulate the like of Andre Gray and Dwight Gayle.

Gray was Town’s leading marksman last season before earning a move to Championship side Brentford, while Gayle was picked up from non-league Stansted by Hatters boss John Still when at Dagenham & Redbridge, and is now in the Premier League with Crystal Palace.

On Walker’s chances, Hayrettin said: “I think he could be if he keeps working hard, believes in himself and has the right attitude then why not?

“Sometimes you’ve got to believe in yourself as well. However good the manager thinks you may be, you’ve got to have that sense of belief, that desire, that drive and I think he’s got all that.

“He’s an outstanding footballer. When he first came he may have found the intensity of training a little bit difficult.

“He’s picked up the pace now and as every day goes past he’s getting better and better.”

Walker made another eye-catching performance from the bench during Hatters’ 1-0 defeat to Crawley Town in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night.

With his first touch, he lobbed Brian Jenson only to see his shot come back off the bar as Hayrettin continued: “It was a great chance, he finds space and gets into positions where he can create his own chances and did that again.

“He’s a very, very clever player. He looks for the space in the box and pulls away from people, a foot to the left and it’s in, even an inch.

“He’s obviously grabbing his chance by the horns. He’s a kid that’s worked very, very hard, and is one that’s progressed as every day’s gone past.

“He’s relishing the chance of playing for this football club and he’s just got to keep working hard, keep pushing and I’m sure it will come from him.”

The 24-year-old has done plenty to impress his team-mates too as Jake Howells said: “He was unlucky not to score but his time will come. We see it every day in training, he scores goals and he’s a natural finisher. So I think if he keeps getting in the right positions he’ll get chances to score goals and his time will come.”

After playing in the Ryman One South for Peacehaven last season, Hayrettin isn’t sure how Walker will be utilised in future weeks regarding a starting position, but knows his progress is in just the right hands.

He added: “It’s something which the manager will decide what kind of role he’ll play this season.

“I can tell you this, he works very hard in training and is very much in the manager’s thoughts.

“We’re very fortunate to have a manager who’s very, very experienced in matters like this.

“It’s all about timing sometimes, hes always said be patient, keep working and that’s all we’ve done.

“We’re now getting the rewards and I’m sure he’ll get better the sharper he gets, the more minutes he get.”