DOUGIE Freedman has big plans for Conor Wilkinson, including a trip to the barber’s shop in the not-too-distant future!

While the young striker’s cultured coiffeur is not to his manager’s taste, the fact he is making the most of a loan spell at Chester FC has certainly gone down well in the Wanderers camp.

Once courted by Portuguese giants Benfica, and brought to the attention of Wanderers fans just a few weeks ago after scoring four goals in a game against Blackpool, it seems not much is run-of-the-mill about the Republic of Ireland youth international.

And that is exactly why Freedman believes a spell of being “kicked up in the air by a 35-year-old centre-half” could be the next step in his evolution.

“We brought Conor in over the summer and got him on a development programme, which he needed to stay on for three or four months before we could send him out on loan,” the Wanderers boss explained.

“That’s where he’s at – and to be able to get him out there and getting some real experience, some real football, is great for us, great for him.

“I’m excited for Conor’s future if he keeps his head down and works hard.”

As if to counteract the top billing he’d just given his summer signing, Freedman also pointed out that there were areas of Wilkinson’s game that still needed work.

“He’s a big lad but he still needs to fill out a bit,” he added.

“And he can’t head the ball as well as he should because of his fancy haircut, which will be coming off him very soon.”

Wilkinson scored a stunner on his debut for the Conference club and, along with development squad team-mate Chris Lester has since helped them remain unbeaten in four games, inching them closer to safety in a division littered with names who have fallen on hard times after exiting the Football League.

Chester City were one of them – but when they were finally dissolved in 2010, Neil Young took charge of a new fan-owned club that had to begin again at Evo Stik Premier League level.

Three successive promotions later and life is proving much more of a slog in the Conference.

But thanks to additions such as Wilkinson and Lester, Young believes his side are starting to adapt to the higher level of football.

“We are grateful to the clubs for loaning us the players because they have done us favours aplenty and helped us bring some quality in,” he said.

“Conor has got so much ability and he’s a talent. I watched him in training on the Thursday and some of the things he was doing with the ball were effortless.

“His movement is good, he’s got quick feet and he’s deceptively quick.”

Wilkinson had not made the first-team grade at Millwall when Freedman went to tribunal to bring him to the Reebok over the summer.

A few months later he also plundered The Den to bring a relative unknown in Liam Feeney to the club for an all-too-brief spell.

Should Wanderers fans be looking to the Lions’ reserves for their next signing?

“Believe me, as an ex-Palace player I haven’t got a line to Millwall, but we’ve done okay just recently,” Freedman laughed.

But credit to the guys who scouted him and got him from Millwall for the £80,000 or whatever we paid.”