*BS*Whites’ goalkeeper Mitch Walker talks to doverathletic.com about his time at Crabble so far, training with a Football League club and ambitions to help the club progress.*BF*
Reflecting on the start to his footballing career with Brighton & Hove Albion, Mitch said: “I joined Brighton at 12/13 and it was a good grounding for me. I went through the scholarship scheme, into the reserves and then made my first team debut which was great.
“However, it was hard to break through consistently because of the competition for places and I was training without playing many games and that wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to play games.”
Walker cited that his time spent working with Dover manager Nicky Forster at Brighton was influential in his decision to join The Whites: “I spoke to both Nicky and Steve Brown before joining and I was really excited to come down and play for Nicky Forster. First team football was a big factor in my decision.”
*Q1*Since joining Dover, Walker has been made to feel very welcome at the club and believes this has helped him settle very quickly: “I’ve been settling in really well. Everyone from the lads, the staff, to the chairman have made me feel very welcome.
“Usually there’s one person that you might not get on with but that isn’t the case at Dover, everyone has been great with me.”
When asked about the transition from professional to semi-professional football, the promising goalkeeper did have some concerns about the regularity of training.
Mitch said: “My only concern about going from full-time to part-time was losing my sharpness, so the gaffer had a word with Crawley Town and I now train with them when it suits Dover’s schedule, so I can keep sharp and help out there as they only have a couple of pro keepers.”
Walker likes to think there is room for improvement this year, despite the team’s impressive away form: “It’s been a crazy season so far and it has been well documented that the home form needs improving and everyone at the club is scratching their heads a little about it.
*Lpic1*”Our away form is the best in the league and hopefully we can transfer those positives into our home form. One win should see it turnaround. It needs to improve if we are to push on for promotion.”
Growing up during the explosion of the Premier League, Walker was quick to point out a rather famous pony-tailed England number one as his hero: “As an Arsenal fan, David Seaman was a real favourite of mine, as was Peter Schmeichel.
“At the moment, Joe Hart and Michel Vorm are in my opinion the best in the league. And the fact that Brad Friedel is still playing at 41 is amazing.”
Long term ambition is a subject that can always be misconstrued but Walker is like many young ambitious footballers and wants to have a long career at the highest level possible.
He said: “My long term ambition is like many others and that is to play as high as possible for as long as I can. There are many different roads you can take to get there. I want to play as well as I can for Dover so that the club can move forward.”