BOSS Brendon King was adamant Nathan Walker was still very much a Hamworthy United player – despite his talismanic skipper signing for Gosport Borough.

Walker dual registered with the Southern Premier League strugglers and turned out in their 4-0 defeat by Weymouth at Privett Park on New Year’s Day.

The 31-year-old became one of Alex Pike’s first additions since his return as manager to the Hampshire club, the pair having previously worked together at both Hammers and Boro.

However, although Walker lined up for one of his former clubs, King insisted Sydenhams Wessex Premier high-fliers United would continue to have first call on him.

Linchpin defender Walker, who moved to the County Ground from Dorchester Town in pre-season, has played a key role in the club’s impressive first half to the campaign.

King told the Daily Echo: “Gosport contacted Nathan and his agreement with them was that he would sign dual registration forms but was predominantly our player.

“He requested permission to play for them on New Year’s Day, which he did. It suited us because he hadn’t had a game for a couple of weeks so got some valuable minutes under his belt.

“If Gosport think they are going to get anything else out of him, they are probably mistaken. As far as we are concerned, he will be playing for us on Saturday and every other Saturday.”

Walker, who is expected to be available for Gosport when Hammers are without a game, has scored 11 goals in 24 games since his move across the county in the summer.

King added: “I have known him since he was a kid. He lives around the corner from our ground and it suited both parties for him to sign here.

“We knew with his work commitments and everything else that it would be the right fit. He has a young family and wants to stay close to home. He can have the best of both worlds with us. He is enjoying his time here and wants to carry on playing for us.”

Walker’s exploits – including both goals in a stunning 2-1 win against runaway league leaders Andover Town last month – have helped Hammers climb to fourth place.

King’s men have won six of their past seven league games and also booked a place in the quarter-final of the Sydenhams League Cup with a 7-2 victory over Verwood, with Walker among the marksmen.

Hammers host third-placed Sholing on Saturday (3pm) and King said: “We started the season quite well and then had a little blip.

“We brought in a couple of players to strengthen the squad and are relatively happy with where we are.

“Sholing will be a big game and they are a good outfit. If we were to finish above them this season, we would probably end up in the top three.”