Ipswich Town transfer rumour: Blues linked to keeper Walker

Reading keeper Sam Walker grew up an Ipswich Town fan. Photo: PA

Goalkeeper Sam Walker had an Ipswich Town season ticket growing up. - Credit: PA

Ipswich Town and St Johnstone are set to 'battle it out' for Kilmarnock keeper Sam Walker, according to Football Scotland.

The Kent-born 30-year-old - who was a season ticket holder at Portman Road growing up - came through the youth ranks at Chelsea, had a series of loan spells before eventually finding a home at Colchester United (2013-18).

A move up the pyramid  to Championship club Reading didn't work out though (seven appearances in three years) and, after League One spells with Blackpool and AFC Wimbledon in 2020/21, he signed for Scottish Championship side Kilmarnock.

Game time was, once again, at a premium there. Walker's eight starts all came in the cup last season as the East Ayrshire side claimed the title with Middlesbrough loanee Zach Hemming between the sticks.

With manager Derek McInnes having just signed Hemming for another year, Walker's future now looks uncertain as he heads into the final year of his contract.

DO IPSWICH NEED A KEEPER?

Christian Walton firmly established himself as the No.1 after arriving from Brighton last season, leaving earlier summer signing Vaclav Hladky on the bench. There's a strong possibility that the Czech custodian, who had previously starred for Salford in League Two, will now want to move on as he enters the second year of his three-year deal in Suffolk.

Aberdeen reportedly want to bring him back north of the border, the 31-year-old having enjoyed two good seasons in the SPL with St Mirren.

Town keeper coach Rene Gilmartin will know all about Walker having worked with him at Colchester.

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WOULD WALKER BE HAPPY AS BACK-UP?

Walker has started just 38 games over the last four seasons - 17 of them having been in cup competitions.

You would imagine, at 30, he would be wanting to go somewhere where he has a strong chance of being first choice.

Then again, Ipswich would have a strong lure...

Back in 2011, after playing (and winning) at Portman Road during a loan spell at Northampton, he revealed his love for the Blues.

“It sort of dawned on me in the afternoon what was actually happening," he said.

“I have been here so much as a fan so when I got to the stadium and walked out on the pitch, it was big. Once I was on the pitch, you sort of block those things out.

“Now I am over the moon. It was really pleasing for me to play where I have grown up in football and come away with the result."

He added: “We (Ipswich) have started well. Promotion is the main aim and I firmly believe we can do that.”


THE COMPETITION

St Johnstone finished 11th in the Scottish Premier League last season, securing survival with a play-off win against Inverness.

Their first choice keeper Zander Clark, who was called up by Scotland twice in 2021, is now out of contract and reportedly a target of Dundee United.

The Tangerines are in need of a new keeper after seeing Benjamin Siegrist (heavily linked to Ipswich last summer) sign for Celtic.