HUDDERSFIELD Town can push on without Anthony Pilkington.
That’s the view of former player and now keen fan Geoff Hutt as the 23-year-old winger moves closer to a £2m-plus move to Premier League new boys Norwich City.
Hutt says he can understand the disappointment of his fellow supporters over Pilkington’s decision to seek a move just six months after signing a new contract through to 2014.
But the man who made the top flight with Town in 1970 also knows why the former Stockport star who is working his way back to fitness after a broken left leg and ankle dislocation is hungry to play in the Prem.
“It’s any professional person’s aspiration to work at as high a level as they can,” said ex-defender Hutt, who missed only four of Town’s 84 matches in the old First Division between 1970-72.
“I thoroughly enjoyed testing myself against the top players, and I can see why Pilks wants to do the same.
“It’s a pity the way things have happened, because the fans will look at the way the club have looked after him since his injury.
“I’m sure he’ll have had the best care available, and that doesn’t come cheap, but of course footballers are prime athletes, and it makes sense to look after them.
“In a way, it’s a shame Pilks isn’t going to at least start the season with us, because if he’d done that, then perhaps sought a move in January, I think the reaction might have been different.
“But the lad has made his mind up, the club have agreed to consider offers, and we’re all waiting to see what will happen.”
Town stand to make a big profit on any deal, because while the fee paid to Stockport in January 2009, when he was among Lee Clark’s first signings as manager, was never disclosed, sources suggest it was around £300,000 rather than the £500,000 often quoted.
It’s unlikely any fee now paid for Pilkington will be revealed, but some reports have the package offered by Norwich as reaching a possible £2.8m.
Town fans, Hutt included, will be keen to see if further new faces arrive following the signings of full-back Calum Woods and midfielders Oscar Gobern and Donal McDermott.
“With Lee Peltier leaving for Leicester as well, there’s been a bit of a reshuffle of the squad, and while we’ll be looking to see how our former players go on, the fans will be more interested in how the new lads fit in,” continued Hutt.
“We were all on a bit of a downer after the play-off final defeat to Peterborough, but it’s in the past and we have to look forward, not back.
“We’ve been close for the last two seasons, and while League I is always going to be tough to get out of, there’s no reason why we can’t finally make that jump up to the Championship.
“Pilks is a very good player who should get better still, because in my view he still needs to add consistency to his game, but we still performed when he wasn’t available last season.
“Lee Clark has built a squad which gives him plenty of options, and while we’ve lost some players, we’ve gained new ones who will hopefully add something different again.
“Let’s hit the ground running this time, set a foundation and have a real go, just like we did last season, and if we can turn some draws into wins, we can do it.”