Pompey boss: Time to unlock Conor Wilkinson's potential

Paul Cook is relishing having a shot at finally unlocking Conor Wilkinson's potential.

Tuesday, 29th March 2016, 7:01 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:47 am
Conor Wilkinson Picture: Tony Johnson

The 21-year-old this week links up with Pompey following his loan arrival from Bolton.

Despite an agreement being reached last Wednesday, international duties with the Republic of Ireland under-21s has delayed the striker meeting his new team-mates.

Wilkinson has already spent loan spells at Barnsley and Newport County this season, making 12 appearances and scoring once in each instance.

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But Cook is convinced the youngster still needs to perform to the level his talent is capable of.

And he is seeking to get the best out of the tall front man during his Fratton Park stay.

The Blues boss said: ‘Conor’s a funny type, very rangy, a leggy left-footer who looks good on the eye.

‘We watched him at Oldham last year and it looked like he would go on and be a really top player.

‘For whatever reason he hasn’t done that so certainly having a look at him over a period of games will be as interesting for us, as it will be for Conor.

‘If Conor is going to fulfil his potential he has got to do that sooner rather than later in my opinion.

‘I’ve followed him for quite a bit, he has been on quite a lot of managers’ lists.

‘When he joined Barnsley this year it was after a very good spell with Lee Johnson at Oldham, where he looked excellent. It looked like he would go on to become a really good player.

‘For whatever reason something has gone amiss, that could be for a number of reasons – injuries, clashes of personalities – it could be for anything.

‘We just want to have a look at it and see if he is a good fit for us.

‘He has a lot of talent but has to fulfil it eventually. That’s the thing about talent, you cannot keep speaking about potential.

‘We are certainly going to offer Conor a platform to fulfil that potential – and he has to grasp it.’

Wilkinson scored on his senior debut in November 2013, netting for loan club Chester in a 1-1 draw with Aldershot.

Since then he has amassed 56 appearances, scoring six times.

And Cook insists the youngster has plenty more to his game than goals.

He added: ‘It is about balances, it’s blends of players, it’s teams.

‘There is more to Conor than goals – he is very good on the eye, he plays a lovely game and is intelligent.

‘He should score more goals, of course he should, but when you are at the age he is at, they are still young lads learning the game. Eventually these lads go on and become the next generation of top player.

‘Every player has his loans and spells out of teams, Conor’s next couple of years are vital to him as a player.’