Walters urges local youngsters to believe in dream

Jonny Fairbairn, Mark Walters and Keiran Ainslie model the new Berwick Rangers away kit
Jonny Fairbairn, Mark Walters and Keiran Ainslie model the new Berwick Rangers away kit

Berwick goalkeeper Mark Walters can’t wait to get his chance of more first team action.

He has been ‘on the bench’ as Kevin Walker held the number one position between the posts, but his sending off means he is now likely to make his first full competitive appearance this weekend against Stirling Albion.

Tthe former Coldstream stopper said earlier he was not giving up faith, and he is urging local youngsters to do the same.

Walters is one of three ‘local’ players in Colin Cameron’s 2015-16 squad - the others are captain Jonny Fairbairn from Milfield and Kieran Ainslie from Tweedmouth.

Walters explains: “My move into senior football has come at a later stage than is perhaps traditional, and maybe at times it has felt as though locals have had to work harder to be noticed and earn the opportunity, given the club has historically tended to source players from elsewhere.

“But with myself and Kieran signing over the summer, it’s proof that hard work will get you to where you want to be.

“For any youngster looking to progress in the game, I’d say never give up and work for it.

“If you’re willing to show dedication and commitment to get to the cause, you will be rewarded for it.”

Walters, who also played locally with Eyemouth in the East of Scotland League, could be forgiven for giving up on his hopes of league football, but he says:

“I’d been at Coldstream for five years, and I’m now 29. But when I got that call to do pre-season, it was a no-brainer. Coldstream were great during the move – I spoke to a few of the staff there and they were all very supportive.

“But I was very aware of the risk I was taking. At Coldstream I was virtually guaranteed first-team football.

“I knew it was a gamble coming to Shielfield and sitting on the bench, trying to work my way into the starting eleven.

But it seems that the taste of first-team football is something that Walters is keen to palate more often.

In pre-season he played the second halves against both North Shields and Dunfermline, and then he was handed the gloves for the full 90 minutes against Hibernian at Shielfield.

“Those matches were a bit of an eye opener as to the task I faced in all honesty,” he said.

“ But I felt that when I got the nod for a full 90 against Hibernian that I was able to show the boss and the fans what I’m capable of.”

“It’ll be tough, but I’m up for the challenge. I’m here to break into the first-team and know that I may have to show the same patience I did in waiting for my chance to join the club to do that.”

Off the field Walters has been impressed with the standard of training and the quality of his team-mates.

“Training here is different class – and that is meant with no disrespect to Coldstream,” he said.

“ In this environment it’s easy to see how the coaching team can get more out of me and ensure I’m always pushing Kev