Bolton Wanderers' striking options are about to be even further depleted with news that Conor Wilkinson is set for a permanent transfer to League One side Barnsley.
Wilkinson, who is still only 20, had been held in high regard at Wanderers and only signed a new three-and-a-half-year contract in December, so for him to be allowed to move on six months later seems somewhat of a U-turn by the club.
Indeed, only last month former Whites player Dean Holden, who was caretaker manager at Oldham Athletic during Wilkinson's loan spell last season, said the striker could 'reach the very top' if he applied himself. Holden told The Bolton News:
"If he knuckles down and works at some aspects of his game then I don't see why he can't be a regular at Championship level, even above. He has got the raw tools to make the very top. I've said to him directly, though, that he needs to take responsibility for where he goes in the game."
Wilkinson scored three goals during last pre-season, including a classy effort against Rochdale, and looked set to feature in the Bolton first-team on a regular basis, but that promise didn't transpire. Fair enough when the forward was given a chance by Neil Lennon this season he didn't impress, but it was perhaps a little unfair to throw him into a game against one of the league's toughest defensive partnerships in Tommy Smith and Christophe Berra.
The south London-born striker joined Wanderers from Millwall in 2013 and has made four appearances for Bolton in total without scoring. The striker has had loan spells with Oldham in the last two seasons, only scoring three goals in 17 appearances and he clearly hasn't done enough to impress manager Lennon.
The big concern for Wanderers fans is that Wilkinson's pending exit leaves Wanderers with just two signed on strikers for next season - and even that's a bit of a stretch, if you count Zach Clough and Max Clayton as strikers. Old boys Eidur Gudjohnsen and Heskey haven't publicly committed their futures to the club for 2015/16, so it's no surprise that Lennon is being linked with a string of - albeit not very good - strikers in the transfer window.
Wanderers have confirmed that a transfer is in discussion with Barnsley, but no fee has been mentioned and the player is apparently still yet to speak to the club.