Veteran Walker leaves Saddlers

Hull City are hoping injured striker Sone Aluko will return to

first-team action before the end of the month.

Aluko, 23, was expected to be sidelined for up to eight weeks

when scans revealed he had a slight tear in his Achilles tendon and

manager Steve Bruce had written off February for the former

Birmingham striker.

But Aluko, whose eight goals have helped propel Hull into

automatic promotion contention following his release from Rangers

and subsequent arrival at the KC Stadium in the summer, has not

ruled out a comeback in the home game against Blackburn on February

19 or at Bolton the following Saturday.

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The 21-year-old, who saved a penalty against Middlesbrough in

the FA Cup last month, will be sidelined for up to eight weeks with

a groin injury.

“I am absolutely gutted because I was, I believe, playing well

and I was enjoying my time at the club,” he told the Bees’

website.

“I will now miss the majority of the season, well what is left

of it, but I am determined to come back stronger than ever.”

The 39-year-old goalkeeper returned to the Saddlers in October

2010 having enjoyed 11 loyal years at the Banks’s Stadium between

1993 and 2004, leaving for West Ham before a later spell at

Tottenham.

It was in January last year that Walker made his 530th

appearance for the midlands club, breaking Colin Harrison’s 30-year

record.

The memorable achievement came during a season in which he

enjoyed 27 starts, leading to a new contract last summer which also

saw him take on some coaching duties.

However, Walker has found first-team opportunities hard to come

by this season, not making an appearance, and it is for that reason

he has come to such a tough decision.

The veteran keeper told the club’s official website: “This has

been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.

This club is very close to my heart and will always be part of

me.

“However, things have not panned out as I would have hoped this

season and I have not been able to play as influential role as I

would have liked. I am at a stage of my career where I need to take

stock and consider my options.

“One of my proudest ever moments was becoming the Saddlers’

all-time appearance record holder and that will live with me until

the end of my days.

“I wish the club all of the best in the future; we have a young

and exciting team at present and the future looks bright.

“Most of all I would like to thank the supporters who have taken

me in as one of their own and made my time here something I will

never forget.”