Walker has earned his shot at MK Dons

Laurie Walker
Laurie Walker

Laurie Walker's determination to get back into professional football has impressed both Lee Nicholls and coach Mel Gwinnett.

The 29-year-old was released by Dons when he was a teenager in 2009. Making more than 250 non-league appearances, Walker began training with the club again a few years ago, helping to bolster the goalkeeping ranks behind the scenes.

Nicholls has trained alongside Walker since he joined in 2016, and says Walker's persistence and determination to return to the professional game have made him a welcome addition to the squad.

"I'm made up for him," said Nicholls. "I've known Laurie since I signed here. I've not known anyone in the non-league who works as hard as him to get back into the Football League so I cannot be happier for him."

Though Walker is expected to go out on loan, and recalled should he be required, Gwinnett says Walker has not been signed out of sentimentality, but because he is good enough to keep Nicholls and Moore on their toes throughout the season.

He said: "The most important thing is that he's good. I'm sure there are plenty of nice guys around that I could have brought in but he has the talent and ability.

Walker in training

Walker in training

"They will all provide stiff competition for each other, not one of them can have an off day. All three will have to perform here every single day.

"I coached Laurie last year, he was doing a job teaching at the College, but he'd be here every day. It's not new because I've known him for 12 months, but what is new is he's now available to us. If we get an injury to Stuart or Lee, we can call upon a talented keeper. One injury, and we've got an apprentice on the bench.

"Ultimately, it strengthens us in that position. If we're pushing for the league, and pushing to try and get as high as we can, you need all positions covered."