AUDIO: Anthony Pilkington happy to fire Norwich City’s season
There was no place like home for Anthony Pilkington as Norwich City finally triumphed away in the Premier League.
The winger grew up in Darwen – just 14 miles from the Reebok Stadium, where the 23-year-old's prod home from a matter of yards helped the Canaries to a 2-1 win over Bolton Wanderers and kicked-started their Premier League return.
Pilkington's family and friends were all on hand to see his role in proceedings, a triumphant return to Lancashire for a player who was on the books at Preston, Manchester United and Blackburn Rovers before having to work his way to the top flight the hard way – starting with North West Counties League outfit, Atherton Collieries five years ago.
But having missed the defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion last weekend, Pilkington was back and making his mark.
'I like to think I've worked really hard and I've got the chance to play in the Premier League now and I'm going to take it with both hands,' said Pilkington, who joined from Huddersfield Town for �2m in the summer.
You may also want to watch:
'It was all part of my process of learning the game and as low down as it was, it's helped me. Before that I was at an academy, like a lot of kids are at the moment, and I dropped right down to the basement as it is.
'And I like to think I worked hard, climbed up the pyramid and that's paying off now and hopefully I can get many more.'
- 1 Neighbours' horror after two people found dead in 'peaceful close'
- 2 Reward of £20,000 offered after theft of performance car worth £150,000
- 3 Man, 41, charged with Pat Holland's murder as human remains found
- 4 Man arrested on suspicion of murder after woman dies in village
- 5 When are GCSE and A-level results out and how fair will grades be?
- 6 Villagers in shock after woman dies in suspected murder
- 7 Brother and sister found dead in their home are named
- 8 Woman who bit an officer among eight people arrested in town
- 9 Norwich pub to temporarily close this summer because of 'pingdemic'
- 10 Man and woman found dead in home
All of which helped make Saturday that bit sweeter as Pilkington's opener and Bradley Johnson's header five minutes later – not that the Canaries' run of 17 years without a top-flight win on the road was playing on the mind of the Norwich City dressing room.
'I'm not even sure we knew about it,' admitted Pilkington. 'The boys and management are delighted, and I'm sure the fans are going back down the road today delighted.
'It's a massive win for us, especially away from home, but it had been coming. We have just got to build on this next week and keep putting points in the board.
'I think it's been coming. We have been playing really good football in the matches and we've been a bit unlucky.
'But we have earned the bit of luck with the way we have played in the previous matches and the way we have played today, so we're absolutely delighted with the three points and hopefully that will be the start of many more.'
Pilkington will not be letting anyone take his goal away – despite the fact it was Tuncay's touch that saw the ball cross the line, after Pilkington's effort rebounded off the post.
He added: 'I don't think you'll see many goals that aren't scrappy from that position. Any manager will tell you you've just got to be a handful around the goalkeeper and stop him saving the ball, and luckily that's what I've done and it's gone in the back of the net. That's just my job, to be a handful in there and it worked.'
And while Lancashire was good to Pilkington on Saturday, the winger acknowledged his is enjoying his move down south.
'It's nice – it's a lot warmer down there and I haven't seen the wet stuff fall out of the sky for a long while,' said Pilkington. 'The baby and the missus have settled in really well and I just want to kick on now.'