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Jason Walker bids to knock Doncaster Rovers out of Capital One Cup
YORK City striker Jason Walker will be out to prove today’s Capital One Cup hosts Doncaster Rovers were wrong not to sign him three years ago.
Walker enjoyed a successful trial period at Rovers while still a Barrow player and was told he would be offered a contract at the then Championship outfit.
But Sean O’Driscoll – Doncaster manager at the time – went back on his word and Walker, now 28, was forced to wait until May’s Blue Square Bet Premier play-off final victory with City to belatedly become a Football League player.
O’Driscoll has since departed Doncaster and will kick off the new campaign with Nottingham Forest but Walker is still keen to make an impression at Rovers.
He said: “I did well in a pre-season game against Doncaster for Barrow and was then invited for a trial. You sometimes need that bit of luck to get a break and I played a couple of games and did well but nothing materialised so I just got on with my job at Barrow.
“It was disappointing because I’d been at Barrow for a couple of years and Doncaster were in the Championship. The manager had also said he wanted to sign me, so it was all good news but it fell through.
“Instead, I’ve ended up playing at Wembley three times for Barrow and York and I’m a York City player now so I will be going there to beat them. I suppose I want to go and show them what they missed out on a bit although it was a long time ago.”
Walker added, though, that Doncaster offer a blueprint for any club committed to playing attractive football and aspiring to make progress having won promotion back to the Football League.
Rovers stylishly clinched the League Two title just 12 months after emerging triumphant from the Conference play-off final. They then enjoyed four seasons winning plaudits for their brand of play in the Championship.
Said Walker: “They are a good team with good footballers, just like ourselves and they have shown what’s possible after getting promoted from the Conference. When you look at Stevenage, they’ve gone close to achieving the same a bit more physically and direct but Doncaster did it the football way so there’s no reason why we can’t do that as well.”
Following today’s match, City kick off their League Two campaign with a home clash against Wycombe before making a trip to Walker’s first English club Morecambe three days later.
On that fixture, the striker added: “That will be a good one. All my family are from around that area and I think I’ll have about 20 people coming to that game – some of them as Morecambe supporters.
“They might be one of the favourites to go down but they’ve been doing well in pre-season. We expect tough games from whoever we play.”
Like his manager, Walker is convinced the Minstermen will be among the challengers at the top end of the table but also reckons that half the division will be targeting a promotion push, saying: “If you look at money then Fleetwood have spent a lot and, if they are not where they want to be in January, they will strengthen again. Rotherham have signed some very good players and have got a good manager from Crawley in Steve Evans.
“Torquay are always there or thereabouts and, when you look at it, you could pick between ten or 12 clubs that have a good chance of promotion.”
Walker is keeping his own individual hopes for the season under wraps, explaining: “I will be setting myself targets but not making them public.
“I’d like to do better than last season but it’s also my first year in the Football League.”
Wrestling the golden boot away from last season’s leading marksman Matty Blair might be one challenge but Walker played down any rivalry, saying: “He was top scorer last season and that’s fantastic for him.
“It did not bother me. He got the two goals in the finals at Wembley and I was just delighted to win both matches.”