Norwich City midfielder Anthony Pilkington is ready to break new ground in the Premier League survival stakes
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Anthony Pilkington admits scrapping at the wrong end of the table is not a feeling he ever wants to get used to.
The 24-year-old had previously been part of promotion-chasing sides at Stockport and Huddersfield before playing his part in comfortably securing Norwich City's Premier League survival last season. Pilkington's hamstring problems in recent months have only added to the sense of frustration before his timely return to the ranks last weekend against Aston Villa.
'No, its not something I have ever experienced in my career. It's always been nearer the top end when I was at Stockport and Huddersfield, with play-offs, so this is new to me and I'm relishing the challenge,' he said. 'There is pressure every time you go out there – this one a little bit more because no one wants to get beaten and nobody wants to get relegated, no matter what team you play for – but the boys are confident we can go out there and get a good result.
'Towards the back end of the season, I've had a few little niggles here and there that have stopped me playing as much as I'd like to but it's all behind us now. I've been out last week, got some more training sessions under my belt and I hope I can carry on working on Sunday. It's massive. It's the next game, a big game and they're all big games at this level. The mood's been good in training and we'll look to take that into the game on Sunday.'
City's high octane starts against both Villa and Reading at Carrow Road in recent times may have brought mixed results but Pilkington believes it is critical they show that same early intent ahead of West Brom's visit.
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'Yes, we've been like that the whole season at home. That's a positive for us from this season,' he said. 'There are not many times when we've been turned over at home. I think it was only Liverpool who really did that to us. The situation we're in is not going to hold us back.
'We're just going to go out there, work on what we've been working on this week in training and try to put what the gaffer has said to us into action on Sunday and just go out there and try to win the game.
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'After the Villa game everyone was disappointed and gutted but the boys have picked themselves up, the staff have picked themselves up. That's gone now. We're all focused on Sunday and that's what we're looking forward to. Everyone's been very positive and looking forward to the game.'
Pilkington and the rest of Chris Hughton's squad know exactly what is at stake.
'It's massive, obviously. No one wants to get relegated, no matter what league you're in,' he said. 'No player wants to be relegated, no matter what it is but to be playing in the Premier League next season, that's all anybody wants. You can look at the run we've been on and I'm not going to talk about decisions and stuff like that. Maybe I'd say we haven't been good enough, conceding some sloppy goals and, more to the point, we haven't been creating enough chances and putting the chances away. Like I say, we're just looking to get a positive result on Sunday, not looking at what we've done previously.'
The attacking midfielder is not even contemplating the prospect of needing to get something from a final day trip to Manchester City.
'Everyone's been really positive in the dressing room, all around the club, and even the fans you talk to around the ground,' he said. 'Everyone is right behind each other and I'm sure we can all pull together through the whole club and get the result we're looking for. No one has really talked about it being Manchester City in the last game of the season because it would be wrong to look to that and take your eye off this Sunday.
'We're all professionals and right from the very top of the club, it's been all about West Brom and getting a positive result. We haven't thought about the fixture after that because all our energy and all our efforts are being put into Sunday.'