Anthony Pilkington targets a fresh start at Norwich City
- Credit: Stefano Gnech/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's Republic of Ireland international Anthony Pilkington aims to make up for lost time after his bit-part role in the Canaries' struggles last season.
Pilkington played his first 90 minutes since February's Premier League 0-0 draw with Manchester City in the opening practice match of the club's Italian tour.
The 26-year-old only made 10 starts in Norwich's ill-fated top flight campaign after being hampered with a series of injuries and Pilkington did not feature at all during Neil Adams' brief spell in charge towards the end of the season, but the former Huddersfield wide player is striving to put that right after the club took up an option in his contract to keep him at Carrow Road for the new challenge ahead.
'I can't wait to get going,' he said. 'No football player enjoys pre-season but it has to be done and you want to get the season started. The coaches would say the same. It will be a long hard season and you need to be ready for it. The new boys have settled, especially Laffs (Kyle Lafferty), and they are getting used to how the manager wants to do things here.
'It's good we are here for eight or nine days to get to know each other. For me, I'm just taking things one step at a time and that means trying to get into the team and take it from there.'
Pilkington sat out Wednesday's open training session in Chatillon Saint Vincent, along with Russell Martin and Alex Tettey, to rest some bumps and bruises ahead of Friday's tour fnale against SC Bastia, but the midfielder looked sharp in scoring a brace in the 13-0 practice win over a regional select side.
'It wasn't ideal circumstances and everyone has seen how poor the opposition were,' he said. 'It is no fault of the coaching staff or the players. We just have to get on with it in a professional manner and we did that.
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'To get 90 minutes, which is the first in about six months for me, was good to get the cobwebs out of the legs. From that point of view it wasn't too bad and it is always nice to get a couple of goals, but I think nearly everybody scored. For me personally it was about fitness and we did it professionally.'
Pilkington, speaking to the club's official website, insists he is up to speed after joining Adams' squad later in the pre-season preparations following his extended international duty with the Republic of Ireland.
Martin O'Neill's men played two friendly games in America prior to the World Cup as the Irish look to gear up for the 2016 European Championship qualifying campaign.
'I was still playing three or four weeks into the pre-season break so in that respect coming back a little bit later hasn't made any real difference,' he said. 'I wasn't really behind too much. Myself and Wes (Hoolahan) and Martin (Olsson) had done all the testing when we came back and we were just the same as the other lads. They just got a longer break.'