Paul Cook has moved to solve Wigan Athletic’s goalkeeper crisis by securing his “number one choice” in the form of Brighton’s England Under-21 international Christian Walton.
The 21-year-old has penned a season-long loan deal at the DW Stadium, and will make his debut in Friday night’s glamour friendly against Liverpool.
Latics had been without a senior goalkeeper since Matt Gilks left for Scunthorpe earlier this summer, with the Wigan Post first reporting the interest in Walton last month.
And Cook couldn’t hide his glee at completely the deal ahead of the packed pre-season fixture programme.
“I know our fans will be absolutely delighted that we’ve managed to get Christian on a season-long loan,” enthused Cook.
“He’s a huge talent, he’s very impressive in terms of both stature and as a person,
“He’s been out on loan to a few clubs - Bury, Southend, Luton - which always enhances a young lad’s career.
“He was certainly our number one choice, and we look forward to seeing him make his debut on Friday night against Liverpool.”
Latics had their fingers burned last term with loan goalkeepers, with Adam Bogdan returning to Liverpool in November after sustaining a serious knee injury in November, and Jakob Haugaard enduring a horror spell after arriving in January from Stoke.
Nevertheless, Cook says that will not deter him from chasing future loan captures.
“The loan market is still an important market for football clubs,” he added.
“We want to develop our own players at Wigan Athletic, that’s what we have to do.
“But every now and then we have to bring in a quick fix, or a quick fit, and that’s the case in the goalkeeping position.
“With Matt (Gilks) leaving the club there is a gap there, we are short of senior goalkeepers.
“Christian played a massive part in Luton’s success last season.
“I’m sure if you talk to Luton, they’ll look at Christian going back to Brighton and seeing it as the reason they never went up automatically.
“Christian had an outstanding spell at Luton, and I know he’s going to be an outstanding acquisition for this football club.”