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Ashford United interim manager Alan Walker tips on-loan Gillingham youngsters Stanley Skipper and Josh Bayliss for big future | Nuts & Bolts defender breaks arm in Herne Bay win

Ashford interim boss Alan Walker is predicting a bright future for his on-loan Gillingham duo.

Stanley Skipper - the nephew of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard - and Josh Bayliss have caught the eye since joining the Nuts & Bolts at the end of last month.

Ashford interim manager Alan Walker. Picture: Ian Scammell
Ashford interim manager Alan Walker. Picture: Ian Scammell

They helped Walker’s men achieve successive wins over Easter, with Good Friday’s 2-1 success at Sevenoaks followed by a 3-1 home victory over Herne Bay on Monday.

Bayliss scored the second goal against Bay.

“The two boys from Gillingham have been fantastic,” said Walker. “They’re both 18 and first-year pros.

“We’ve lost players and Gillingham have kindly loaned them to us and it’s great for the boys because it gives them experience of men’s football. They’ve been outstanding in every way.

“I’d imagine those two have got a great future from what I’ve seen so far.

“They’re fantastic pros and very good players.”

The duo will be a way off the first team at Priestfield but Walker, a former Gills defender, feels it’s a target to aim for.

“If you’re good enough, it doesn’t matter how old you are,” he said.

“They won’t be going in at this stage because there’s senior players in front of them but it’s great experience for them to be here compared to academy and under-21 games.

“They’re playing men’s football, albeit the standard isn’t perhaps as good technically, but it’s very good for them physically to learn to cope with that.

“Gillingham are doing us a massive favour and we’re helping them by giving their players a chance.”

Ashford have climbed from 13th to eighth after recording back-to-back wins for the first time since November.

They came from a goal down to beat Sevenoaks thanks to Max Walsh and Harvey Brand.

Tommy Penfold and Walsh scored either side of Bayliss in the victory over Herne Bay.

“I was very pleased,” said Walker. “In the four games we’ve played since I’ve been here, we’ve played well.

“We missed a lot of chances in the first couple but we’ve taken our chances in the last two.

“The big thing is we had five or six 18-year-olds finish the game on Friday and four on Monday, so it bodes well.

“The young lads have been outstanding.

“Harvey Brand’s brother, Todd, has been absolutely superb and Noah Carney, who’s only 19, has been fantastic. He’s played really well.

“The only trouble is he can’t put the ball in the net at the moment but we’re delighted with him.”

There’s been a new face in goal in Chiedozie Nwosu, who’s signed as cover for the injured Chris Lewington.

Lewington has a back problem and Walker proved his sense of humour is as sharp as ever despite his long spell out of management before taking the reins at Ashford.

“Chris is still a few weeks away, according to the physio,” said Walker.

“He’s been having back spasms which I think must have been brought on by bending down to pick the ball out of the net before we got there.

“We’ve signed Chiedozie, who’s a Bermondsey boy, and we call him He-Man because he’s a big lad.

“He’s only played two games but he’s looked very good.”

Ashford visit Sheppey this Saturday (3pm).

Walker is set to make further changes as he continues to assess players at his disposal.

There’ll be one enforced switch from the Herne Bay win, with full-back Harrison Byford breaking his arm in a bad landing at the end of the first half.

“We heard the crack, it happened right in front of the dugout,” said Walker.

“Even Steve Lovell, in the other dugout, went, ‘Walks, that’s a break’ and it turned out to be.

“He’s broken it in a couple of places. That’s him knackered for the season, which is shame.

“We only saw him for two games but I was very impressed. He’s already said he loves what he’s seen so far and wants to be part of it next season although that’s for whoever the new manager is to decide.”

On selection for Sheppey, Walker said: “We made four changes on Monday and there’ll be at least four on Saturday because we need to look at people.

“There’s a reason we’re doing all this and it’s for the future.

“We’ll change it around and look at different formations and different tactics and see how the lads cope with it.

“It’s all with a view to what’s going to happen next season.”

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