New Haverhill Borough manager Anthony Choat believes he has lost the services of one of non-league football’s best goalkeepers in Paul Walker.
The 25-year-old’s arrival at The New Croft 3G in January was somewhat of a coup for Borough, given that he had previously represented Wales at youth level and made one senior appearance for Football League side Northampton Town.
And he went on to play a key role in the club’s history-making promotion up to the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division with a third-placed finish.
However, Walker will not be turning out for Borough at Step Five, having accepted an offer to join Isthmian League Division One North outfit AFC Sudbury.
While losing a custodian of Walker’s calibre is an early blow to Choat’s plans, the new boss conceded the departure was far from unexpected.
“I have been involved with this level of football for a long time and can safely say Paul is the best goalkeeper I have played with,” he said.
“In competitions like the FA Cup and Vase you only get to see other goalkeepers once, but he has to be one of the best at semi-professional level.
“He has played at a very high standard and we were lucky to have him.
“I always thought he would move on this summer and he has joined a good side that has a great set-up.”
In terms of a replacement, Graham Smith, who was replaced by Walker after making 20 appearances during 2016/17, has informed Choat he will be staying with the club.
Nevertheless, Choat is still hoping to bring in some competition for the gloves before the new season gets under way on August 5.
“It is great that Graham is staying with us because he is a very good goalkeeper,” he added.
“But at the same time we are actively looking for competition.
“We want to be competitive a level higher and to do that every players needs to be pushed for their place.”