'Unsung hero' Walker deserves the praise he's getting at Oldham
Dons' third choice keeper is impressing on loan at Oldham Athletic
Laurie Walker deserves the plaudits he is receiving for his performances on loan at Oldham Athletic, but they come as no surprise to his coach.
The 31-year-old's fascinating story of patiently plying his trade in non-league for a decade before finally getting his opportunity in the professional game this season.
Playing three times for Dons in the Papa John's Trophy, Walker has been on loan at Boundary Park for nearly a month and has impressed in his five outings for the Latics in League Two.
It's almost a fairytale story for Walker, who had to wait 10 years between professional games, finally making his EFL debut at 31, but for Dons' keeper coach Dean Thornton, it comes as no surprise.
"I'm thrilled for Laurie and what he's doing," he said. "Laurie has been an unsung hero because he trains Monday to Friday knowing he's not going to be a part of the squad, but the level he has shown, I take my hat off to him.
"It's a unique story – not many players get to make their debut at 31. I've been in touch with people at Oldham and they're delighted with him and each game he gets better and better. I'm not really surprised either, I've worked with him for a year now.
"From a selfish point of view, I wanted to keep him because I wanted my department to be as strong as usual, but I also wanted Laurie to go and show what he can do. He's been getting really high ratings there too, and he's been a busy man.
"I'm delighted for him, and I hope he gets to stay and get 10 or 12 games under his belt which would be fantastic and a great story for him."