Blackburn have had success in raiding PNE’s reserve side in the past, as showcased by the deal that saw Tyrhys Dolan make the move to Ewood Park. The forward rarely got a look in at Deepdale but given the chance with Rovers, he has so far managed an impressive 11 goal contributions in just 30 league starts for the side.
Now, they are hoping that lightening will strike twice with the signing of Walker. The 19-year-old only ever managed one league appearance for North End back when he was just 16-years-old. Now at the end of his contract, boss Ryan Lowe has decided not to offer him fresh terms.
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It means that the winger will become a free agent when his current deal comes to an end – and that has allowed divisional rivals Blackburn to seal a deal for the player on a free transfer.
Walker has very little in the way of Championship experience so far, with his only other loan spells coming in non-league and with Carlisle in League Two. However, Dolan was in a similar situation when he arrived at Ewood Park and they will hope that given a chance in their squad, he too could flourish. Preston North End and their fans though will surely be crossing their fingers that it is not a repeat performance from another one of their youngsters.
It’s hard to judge how good a signing this could be for Blackburn considering that Ethan Walker has had very little playing time in the Football League so far.
Based on the reviews over Walker at reserve level, the signs are promising. He was highly regarded when he played for the PNE reserve side and there are some supporters of the club who are bewildered as to why he was never given a chance, never mind released from his deal with the side.
Their loss though could be Rovers’ gain, although this might be a signing for the future rather than a signing for now. Dolan was thrown into the mix almost immediately but Walker might have to make do with more reserve action or a loan spell out before getting first-team football at Ewood Park.
He’s played with Carlisle in League Two and was decent enough for the side but whoever the club’s next boss is might fancy perhaps sending him out on a temporary basis again first to gauge just how talented the youngster is before deciding whether to use him in his squad.