Jones would love to have Walton back at Luton

Christian Walton in action for Luton at Exeter
Christian Walton in action for Luton at Exeter

Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted that although unlikely, he would love to re-sign goalkeeper Christian Walton on loan again if the chance arose this season.

The England U21 stopper made a huge impact at Kenilworth Road during his six month loan spell, before being recalled by parent club Brighton on transfer deadline day.

If it was a clean slate, we would love to have Christian Walton back.

Nathan Jones

Clubs are permitted to sign a keeper on an emergency basis outside of the window if they do not have a senior professional that has made five first team appearances in their squad.

With Craig King having only played four times so far, and Luton bringing in loan duo Stuart Moore and Matt Macey, then in theory there could be a slim chance of Walton returning once Albion number two Niki Maenpaa returns to full fitness, although Jones said: “It would be very difficult to do that now and we want to see how these two (Moore and Macey) do as these two were on our radar.

“If it was a clean slate, we would love to have Christian Walton back. We love Christian Walton and he’s a great fit, a great lad.

“The lads love him, players trust him, it’s a big loss for us, but it gives an opportunity for others who are on our list.

“We lost Johnny Mitchell when everyone said he was brilliant, so we haven’t done bad on keepers to be fair, and we’ve just taken two real good younguns now.”

Although understanding the decision, Jones couldn’t hide his disappointment when discussing the Seagulls opting to recall Walton from his loan to act as back-up to number one David Stockdale, as deputy Maenpaa recovers from a shoulder injury suffered on Saturday.

He added: “For us, and I’m speaking purely about us, it’s massively disappointing to lose the best goalkeeper in the league.

“He had built up an unbelievable relationship with the back four, the confidence he has in possession.

“We’ve invested six months work in Christian Walton and it’s come to massive fruition, it really has, because he’s now established.

“There’ll be Championship clubs now looking to take Christian Walton, comfortably.

“So he’s been a real good fit in terms of us, but Brighton have to do what Brighton have to do.

“It’s like we’ve got an opportunity to loan Zane Banton out, he’s itching to play, but we have to look after ourselves as he’s so close to it.

“He’s doing so well in training that individually he feels hard done by, but in terms of a squad and what I have to look after at Luton Town, I have to do that.

“So Brighton have to do what they have to do and the goalkeeping situation is such an important situation.

“I’m grateful to Brighton that they allowed us and trusted us with him. It was a gamble from our point of view, a calculated one as I know him, so it’s massively disappointing, but we understand the decision.

“I’m disappointed for the lad because he was really enhancing his career, but he’s enhanced his career sufficiently enough that Brighton rely on him and would have no problem putting him in.”