Luke Wilkinson arrived at Boro’ from neighbours Luton Town in 2016; Teddy Sheringham hoping to add more steel to our defence. At that point, we’d struggled during the 2015-6 season and our Goals Against column wasn’t looking too clever. In came Wilko, though, on a permanent deal. In the process, he linked up with fellow former Hatters Ronnie Henry, Fraser Franks, and Keith Keane; the latter coming in on loan from League Two rivals Cambridge United to bolster our midfield. It was the start of a fruitful partnership between Wilko and Boro’. And it would continue to strengthen as Darren Sarll would ultimately take over the reins from Sheringham before the campaign was out.
In the end, Wilko remained with us for three full seasons after that. In that time, he racked up more than 100 outings as a Boro’ man. To go with the strength he brought to our backline, the player also chipped in with some critical goals at the other end. The departure of Sarll as Boro’ boss was an ominous sign for Wilko, however. Sure enough, chances became limited during the 2018-9 campaign under Dino Maamria. Ben Nugent and Scott Cuthbert started to get the spots in the centre of our defence. And it was no surprise that Wilko left us in summer 2019; a decision that turned out relatively well for him as Boro’ floundered badly in our first season without his services.
Luke Wilkinson: Before Boro’
Wilko first started his career on youth terms at Brisol Rovers, before Portsmouth made a move to sign him. First team opportunities, however, were non-existent while at Pompey – as was the case when he went on loan to Northampton in January 2010.
Eastleigh swooped to sign Wilko on loan in February 2010 and the Conference South outfit were the first to give him a taste of senior football. It’s perhaps no surprise that Pompey opted to release the defender that summer, however. So, he was on the move again.
League One side Dagenham and Redbridge snapped up Wilko on a three-year deal. While there, he went out on loan to Boreham Wood (twice) and Dartford to gain more valuable first team experience. In 2012-3, finally, he broke into the Daggers first team as a permanent fixture.
He went from strength to strength during his time at the Daggers after that, until an injury pushed him down the pecking order in 2013-4. After the campaign had ended, he ended up moving to Luton and (funnily enough) linking up with ex-Daggers boss John Still.