I-League: Bengaluru FC sign Joshua Walker replacement

Ashley Westwood's side have roped in the former Huddersfield and Oxford midfielder until the end of the season.

Bengaluru FC have announced the signing of midfielder Michael Collins as a replacement for his injured fellow Englishman, Joshua Walker for the remainder of the I-League season. 

Walker missed the first two games of the season with a knee injury and faces a long spell on the sidelines. As a resulted, head coach Ashley Westwood has acted swiftly in the transfer market to recruit an able replacement.

“It’s under unfortunate circumstances that we have to replace Josh with another player but this is a short, congested season which means we had to move quickly. We’ve done our due diligence on Michael and I’ve spoken with former coaches, players and current scouts on the basis of which I’ve made my choice," Westwood revealed on Thursday evening. 

"Michael has more than 300 games in English football under his belt, is a good character and will be a good example of a professional to everyone around,” he added.

The 29-year-old Collins began his career with Huddersfield Town with whom he spent six seasons, playing 173 times and scoring 19 goals. His second substantial spell was with current League One team Scunthorpe United where he played 79 games before moves to AFC Wimbledon (loan), Oxford City and York City (loan).

Interestingly, Walker and Collins have been teammates at Scunthorpe and the duo have been exchanging notes. 

“I’m very excited to start this chapter of my career. I got a call from the gaffer who gave me a low-down about the league and more after which I had a word with my family and decided that this is the right time in my career to try something new. I’ve even been speaking with Josh who keeps filling me in,” said Collins who hails from Halifax.

Collins is expected to arrive in India over the coming week, ruling him out of the Blues first home game against Shillong Lajong on Sunday. 

“There’s no time to stele in and I’m going to have to blend in right away. But I don’t think that should be a worry because I’ve been keeping myself fit. I can’t wait to come over and play my part in helping the club win the league,” said Collins who has six caps for the Republic of Ireland at the under-21 level.

Walker has been replaced and de-registered from the I-League but continues to be a Bengaluru FC player.