BRIAN Pritchard says the arrival of Dave Walker to bolster Witton Albion’s attack is a bonus he had not expected.
The 30-year-old signed on Monday after watching a win at the weekend against Stocksbridge Park Steels, returning to Wincham Park after a successful loan stay at the club in October.
He left Premier Division rivals Rushall Olympic, where he was a contracted player, last month.
“It’s a move we thought we couldn’t make happen this season,” said the Albion boss.
“I’d kept in contact with Dave after his spell here ended, and he’s told me he was gutted reading our results in recent weeks and not being in a position to help us out.
“It’s a bonus for us that he may now have a part to play after all.”
Walker limped off during Witton’s thrashing of Stafford, and was later diagnosed as having suffered a double hernia following a scan arranged by the Pics.
The former Kidsgrove Athletic front man needs an operation, which he will have following Albion’s league games against AFC Fylde this weekend and then FC United of Manchester next Tuesday.
He hopes to be fit by the end of February.
Pritchard said: “Dave has nothing to prove because he showed us what he can do during his time here earlier in the season.
“He says he can manage the pain during the next couple of games, and has been training with another club in the past few weeks.
“If he can be back playing for the run-in during March and April, then I think it’s a chance worth taking.”
Walker, who counts Nantwich and Stafford among his former clubs, scored five goals in as many starts while with Witton previously.
That tally included a double on his debut in a 3-2 win at Worksop.
He has hit the net more than 100 times in the past five seasons, bagging 25 in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s top tier for Rushall last season.
The Pics were prepared to pay for Walker to have surgery privately, but parted company with him when he said he planned to leave Dales Lane at the end of the current campaign.
“We offered to arrange for Dave to be operated on as long as he signed a 12-month extension to his deal,” Rushall manager Neil Kitching told his club’s official website following a 2-0 defeat of Witton on Boxing Day.
“His message to us was that he wanted to play for a club closer to his home in Stoke on Trent after the end of this season, which left us a crossroads.
“We would have loved for him to stay, but when he said that we had a decision to make.”