Hatters complete signing of highly-rated Dagenham defender
The Hatters have completed the signing of central defender Luke Wilkinson from Dagenham & Redbridge for an undisclosed fee.
The 22-year-old has penned an initial one-year deal and joins the Town squad in time for their pre-season training camp in Portugal.
Wilkinson is reunited with manager John Still who signed the centre-half in 2010 following his departure from then-Premier League Portsmouth.
The former Bristol City scholar signed pro forms with Pompey but left Fratton Park without making a senior appearance despite impressive performances for the South Coast club’s reserves.
Wilkinson was snapped up by Still at the same time that Pompey loaned Marlon Pack and Matt Ritchie to the Daggers. He spent successful loans spells at Boreham Wood and Dartford and helped Dartford win the Conference South Play-Offs in 2011/12.
The following campaign saw Wilkinson nail down a regular spot at centre-half with Dagenham & Redbridge, and he scored six times in 46 matches in all competitions on his way to winning the Daggers’ player of the year award.
Last season the defender was restricted to 25 appearances, but he still managed to score three times as the Daggers finished in ninth place in League 2. He handed in a transfer request at the end of the campaign which alerted Still of his availability.
“Luke is a top class player,” the boss told Hatters Player. “We brought him in from Portsmouth and really progressed with us. In the last year I was there he was Dagenham’s player of the season. He was absolutely outstanding.
“I think the key to signing him was that he wanted to come here. Plus we know each other well. I was a centre-half and we worked with him a lot. We always felt he would go on and do well.
“He’s very powerful in the air, he can play both sides. When we first had him, his playing style and stature reminded us of a young Tony Adams. Although he’s still young, he’s had plenty of Football League experience and he’s a strong character.”
After putting pen-to-paper on the contract, Wilkinson told Player: “Luton is a club going places and it felt right straight away when I was told of their interest.
“Obviously I know the gaffer when he signed me for Dagenham and that’s always a big pull.
“Last season was frustrating for me. I had an injury in pre-season and always felt I was playing catch-up but I always felt this summer was time to move on.
“I’m a centre-half; big, strong, good in the air. I like to play football and get the ball down, but I can also do the dirty side as well.”