And you don’t get many better reserve goalkeepers than Ian Walker.
It was the same story against Ipswich Town on Tuesday night. As the England squad travelled to Italy for a friendly the man who played against the Italians in a key World Cup qualifying match at Wembley in 1997 was plying his trade in front of a few hundred fans at a freezing cold St Albans.
Not that it seems to have affected him. Naturally disappointed at losing his first choice spot to Neil Sullivan, Walker has announced that he wants to come off the transfer list and fight for his place back.
Hughton reflected: “It’s difficult because Ian has gone from being the first-choice goalkeeper, and first-choice for quite some time, to obviously being second-choice now.
“It’s hard and obviously motivation is hard at times but I can never fault him when he plays for me and his application is always very good.
“It was the same against Ipswich. He made one fabulous save in the second half. It wasn’t the busiest of nights for him as regards saves he had to make but it was a difficult pitch and he had a lot of back-passes to deal with. His kicking was very good and his attitude spot on.”
So would he be ready for Premiership action again — like he was at Coventry City last month? Hughton added: “It doesn’t even come into question because this is a lad who has been first choice for quite some time, a lad who has played for England and been in England squads. So there is no doubting his ability and given the opportunity I have no doubt that he will do well.”
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Chris Hughton has heaped praise on his ‘reserve’ goalkeeper.