A big piece of Mark Morsley’s promotion jigsaw at AFC Sudbury for next season has already been put in place after goalkeeper Paul Walker this week agreed to sign a new three-year contract.
The future of the former Northampton Town professional, who has represented Wales at Under-17 level and also been called up to the England C team, was in doubt with his contract at the club he joined last summer coming to an end.
But having topped the man-of-the-match awards in the Free Press so far this season with regular stand-out displays, the club were delighted to get him to agree to sign a long-term deal.
Assistant manager Lee Norfolk said: “Mark made no secret of the fact he wanted to secure him to the club long-term.
“He has done very well for us in the short time he has been here.
“He had an injury scare for a short time and you quickly see what you are missing.
“I think he has regularly put in good performances for us.”
Walker arrived at AFC from playing two leagues further down the pyramid at home-town club Haverhill Borough, whom he was instrumental in helping to win promotion to the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last season.
But the 25-year-old six-foot stopper has good pedigree behind him, having made one Football League appearance for Northmapton, as a second-half substitute towards the end of the 2010/11 season against Stockport County.
After being released from the Cobblers in Janaury 2011, his non-league journey began at then Conference North (now National League North) side Corby Town, where he earned his England C call-up and was awarded both the Supporters’ Player of the Year and Manager’s Player of the Year accolades at the end of the 2013/14 campaign.
Following a spell at finanicallly-troubled Kettering Town he admitted to the Free Press he had fallen out of love with the game.
Speaking back in August, he said: “I was playing at Kettering Town last season in the Southern Premier and it got to about September and I just hated it; the egos of the players, the politics, the travelling. I just walked away because I’d had enough.
“With Haverhill Borough it came about as I worked with some of the players and they were pestering me saying ‘come and train with us, come and play with us’, and as soon as I went training I just really enjoyed it again.”
After auditioning players in the first team in recent weeks, Norfolk also revealed the club have offered a number of the club’s academy players first-team deals for next season, with an announcement expected in the coming days.
He said: “We were offered players from Ipswich on loan but Mark wanted to see other players in action and see if they have got a future with us. We have spoke to several academy players and there are offers on the table for next season and beyond.”