Carlisle United are delighted to announce that Preston North End forward Ethan Walker has rejoined the Blues to complete his season-long loan deal.
Walker, 18, initially came to Brunton Park in September but a shoulder injury picked up in the Sunderland Papa John’s Trophy group game saw him return to Deepdale for treatment following just five appearances for United.
An operation to repair the injury led to him being sidelined for three months, before a return to training with his parent club just before Christmas.
Manager Chris Beech said: “I’m delighted we had an opportunity to bring Ethan back. He did really well when he first came on loan and was very much getting into his rhythm as a player for us.
“He’s exciting to watch and naturally talented. It was unfortunate that he sustained the shoulder injury, which needed to be operated on, and we lost him to that.
“When the initial loan break clause came into play in January Preston chose to trigger it and take him back, predominately to be involved in their first team set up.
"They had a number of players missing and having Ethan back was a good fit for them at the time."
“We’ve been in constant dialogue with both Ethan and Preston throughout his rehab and we've been fully aware of the situation,” he continued. “Until this week the Preston view was for him to stay with them and be part of the squad, but I think from Ethan’s perspective he’s very much wanted to come back and pick up from where he left off.
“That’s been pushed for - as a consequence they also see the real value in his development by coming to us, and we were their first point of call, despite interest from other clubs."
“Ethan adds another exciting attacking option and this will prove invaluable as we progress through the second half of the season,” he commented. “The great benefit of having Ethan back with us is that he’s got the bit between his teeth to kick on and make an impact, especially after his injury.
“He knows the players, the staff and he really enjoyed the learning environment he had here as he strove to get better.
“The most important thing is that I’ve already spoken to him to tell him he owes us goals, so I’m looking forward to watching that happen.
"It was good to see him with a smile on his face at training today, and we're all looking forward to working with him again.”
Walker has been at Deepdale since the age of nine and was only 14 when he first made an appearance for the youth team.
Predominantly left-sided, he was top scorer in the under-18 side for two consecutive seasons and was confirmed as the club's 2019/20 scholar of the year in July.
History was made when he came off the bench in a home draw with Aston Villa in December 2018, an appearance which made him the youngest ever player to represent the club in a league fixture.
This deal remains subject to the clearance of all paperwork.