Leyton Orient forward Conor Wilkinson is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Huddersfield Town’s Josh Koroma and QPR’s Macauley Bonne by establishing himself in the Championship, he has exclusively revealed to Football League World.
The duo were both snapped up by second tier clubs after proving their quality at Brisbane Road and have gone on to establish themselves at that level.
Bonne has scored 14 times in his 55 Championship appearances since leaving the O’s in 2019, while Koroma had cemented his place in the Huddersfield starting XI before being sidelined by injury this term.
Wilkinson joined Orient in the same window that the pair left the club and has proven a very useful replacement.
The 26-year-old has been fantastic this term and, with 10 goals to his name already, is on course to surpass his single-season goalscoring record despite spending the majority of the season on the right flank.
Speaking exclusively to Football League World, Wilkinson indicated that the path taken by Bonne and Koroma is one he would be keen to take himself at some point.
“Of course,” the O’s forward said when asked if he wanted to follow in their footsteps.
“One’s at QPR and one’s at Huddersfield and they’re both regular players in the first team. I’d like to have played with them but I never got the chance.
“They’re both in the Championship now, holding their own, doing well, and scoring goals, so I’d like to follow in their footsteps and get myself back there.”
Wilkinson’s current contract is set to expire in the summer and though he has stressed how happy he is at Orient, with the club having made him assurances about his future, getting back to the second tier at some point is clearly a target.
The 26-year-old’s four Championship appearances all came for Bolton in the 2014/15 campaign but he feels that after the best part of a decade he is ready to get back there.
He explained: “I believe I am good enough to play in the Championship.
“I think I can hold my own now, I’m seven years’ wiser, I’m more physical and probably in the best shape I’ve been in.
“I’m fitter and stronger, and I’m more switched on in games, so I feel like it is a target and one which I believe is achievable.”
Even so, the Orient forward is firmly focussed on his side’s play-off push this season and is determined that nothing is going to change that.
“I’m enjoying my football and I don’t want anything to come in the way of that right now,” Wilkinson said.
“I don’t want it to stop what I’m doing or change where I’m going. I’m not the person to get my head turned but I don’t want anything to affect me in any way.
“I’d rather just get my head down and focus, then when the end of the season comes, I can open the book and see where I am.”