Jones confirms it’s ‘highly unlikely’ Brighton keeper Walton will return to Luton

Christian Walton during his time on loan at Luton
Christian Walton during his time on loan at Luton

Hatters boss Nathan Jones conceded it is ‘highly unlikely’ that supporters will see goalkeeper Christian Walton in a Luton shirt again this season.

The 21-year-old made a superb impact during his time on loan at Kenilworth Road this term, playing 33 times, before being recalled by parent club last month due to an injury to number two Niki Maenpaa.

Current Luton number one Matt Macey

Current Luton number one Matt Macey

When asked at his press conference this afternoon if there was any chance of a recall once Maenpaa recovers from his shoulder problem, Jones, who has since signed Matt Macey from Arsenal and Reading’s Stuart Moore until the end of the campaign, said: “It’s a difficult one with the rules on goalkeepers.

“We loved Christian here. It worked for not only Christian, for us, for Brighton, because we got their very highly rated goalkeeper back to the level that he was originally at after two difficult loans.

“So it really worked out. As it happens, because of unforeseen circumstances, he had to return.

“So it will be difficult to get him back as we’ve taken two fine young ones now anyway, so something would have to happen with both of those for us to bring him in.

It will be difficult to get him back as we’ve taken two fine young ones now anyway, so something would have to happen with both of those for us to bring him in.

Nathan Jones

“So it’s highly unlikely, not because we wouldn’t want to do anything, or because we’re unhappy with any of these, but it just seems unlikely, and we’re very happy with the two we have.

“Matt’s settled, and now Stuart’s settled a lot better. Initially it was a difficult decision because Matt did settle a bit quicker than Stuart, but now they’re both competing along with Craig King for that spot.”

Although neither keeper has looked completely secure in between the posts for the Hatters thus far, Jones always knew it would take them a while to show their true colours at Kenilworth Road.

He didn’t feel it was fair to compare either to Walton either, adding: “Christian’s loan was really successful, he was brilliant for us, we invested over six months of a time and we got him to a level which was perfect.

Hatters on-loan keeper Stuart Moore

Hatters on-loan keeper Stuart Moore

“But Christian made errors here, big errors. In terms of away at Portsmouth, where we lost the game, a slip against Carlisle where we drew the game, so Christian wasn’t perfect when he was here.

“But he was in an environment that knew he was going to make mistakes, sooner or later, and that wasn’t going to chastise him for that, but give him every possible opportunity to recover from that.

“The great thing about Christian was he made very few ones and when he did make an error, he bounced back immediately. Plus, he saved us more times than he cost us.

“So that’s all you expect from a goalkeeper. It’s difficult to compare them immediately with Christian, because Christian had a full pre-season with us, had a lot of time with us.

“As all keepers do, Christian made similar errors, not many to be fair to him as he had an excellent time here. So we know keepers are going to make errors, young keepers are definitely going to make errors because they’re learning.

“But that’s why Arsenal, Reading, Brighton, Derby have trusted their young keepers with us because they believe we’ve got a wonderful environment here.”