Experienced Heart of Midlothian winger Jamie Walker has put pen to paper on a loan deal with Bradford City until the end of the season, Bradford City confirmed via their website on Tuesday.
Walker has made 240 appearances over the course of two separate spells with the Edinburgh club, scoring 55 times with 43 assists. He arrives in West Yorkshire looking to help propel The Bantams towards the Sky Bet League Two play-off places.
Walker has been on the books with Hearts since the age of 10, and would make his senior debut with the club in 2012. He would depart on a season long loan to Raith Rovers for the 2011/12 season, before returning to Tynecastle ready to nail down a first-team spot for the following season.
A five-and-a-half-year spell with The Jam Tarts would follow, in which the versatile midfielder would rack up over 180 appearances whilst notching 40 goals in that time. 11 of those came in the 2014/15 campaign that saw Hearts storm to the Scottish Championship league title and win promotion to the Scottish Premier League.
Seeking pastures new, Walker would end his time at Tynecastle in 2018 as he made the move south of the border to join the eventual Sky Bet League One champions of that year in Wigan Athletic. He would only turn out for The Latics nine times however, and in the summer of 2018 would seal a loan switch back to Sky Bet League One to join Peterborough United.
But that move was cut short by injury in the January of 2019 and he was recalled by Wigan. The summer transfer window arrived and Walker was back to full fitness, when he received an offer to return home, and thus the winger who represented Scotland at every youth level from U15-U21 would return to Hearts on a three-year deal.
But after only making seven appearances for Hearts this season, Walker had become frustrated with his lack of playing time, and requested a move away once again. This caught the attention of Bantams boss Derek Adams, who has been desperate to add some more creativity in the forward areas and has encountered Walker several times in his previous role as manager at Ross County, and thus quickly swooped for the winger.
Speaking in an interview with the club’s website, Walker would speak on his move to club reporters, saying: “I am delighted to be here. I have played against the manager’s teams in Scotland and he really pushed to get the deal done.
“I have scored a lot of goals back at home and that is what my game is all about. Getting shots away and trying to score is what I always want to do. I am coming from a club with a big fanbase and huge expectations, so pressure is something I am familiar with, and hopefully something I can use as motivation to do well.
“Knowing the gaffer wanted me is something I will thrive off, and I will always give my best to help bring the supporters some memories, so I just cannot wait to get going.”
Speaking in the same report, Bantams boss Adams would say on the attributes of his new addition: “He scores goals and creates chances, and is the kind of forward-thinking player we are looking to have in the team, so having him signed is a good piece of business.
“Jamie can play anywhere along the frontline and as a No.10. he has featured in a lot of high-profile games in Scotland and scored the winner in Hearts’ final game before Christmas against Dundee.”
Walker’s signing is subject to the relevant EFL, FA and international clearances, and once cleared he will be pulling on the number 10 shirt for The Bantams.
As Walker eluded to in his first interview as a Bradford City player, it is clear that this is a piece of business that Bantams boss Derek Adams has been desperate to get over the line since the availability of Walker became apparent to him.
A player that Adams knows very well after having to prepare his Ross County sides to play against him on numerous occasions, so he will know exactly where Walker’s strengths and limitations lie in order to extract the maximum out of the undoubtedly talented wide man.
And pairing him on the opposing wing to the impressive Lee Angol – who has five goals and one assist in 10 league matches this season – could prove to be a very exciting combination, and one that Bantams striker Andy Cook will be surely purring at too with the potential for some high quality service into him from both flanks.
This could prove to be exactly the type of signing that Bradford City need to help convert those single goal defeats into draws and provide that spark that can turn a frustratingly deadlocked game into three points with a piece of magic. And if Walker can prove to be that catalyst for The Bantams, then the six points that they currently sit away from the Sky Bet League Two play-off places could be soon made up.