ANTHONY PILKINGTON has kicked thoughts of his injury nightmare firmly into touch as he continues to live the Premier League dream with Norwich City.
Back to watch his old Huddersfield Town teammates take on Stevenage, the wing ace gazed out over the Galpharm towards the spot where he suffered a broken left fibula and dislocated ankle last March and insisted: “It’s not something I think about any more.”
Pilkington, 23, made his comeback in pre-season, a month ahead of schedule, having completed his move to Carrow Road – for a fee which could net Town an eventual £3m – in July.
And he’s quick to hail the treatment he received while still a member of Lee Clark’s squad.
“The physio staff at Town were fantastic and worked really hard on me,” said Pilkington, who was operated on by Manchester-based specialist Ashok Paul.
“Coming back from injury can be a pretty lonely experience, but they were with me every step, and I’m really grateful.
“Obviously after I joined Norwich, the people down there took over, and I was always confident I’d be there or thereabouts by the start of the season, which was how it worked out.
“Everything feels fine with the leg, and the way I look at it now is that it was just a badly twisted ankle!”
Pilkington, who played 107 times and scored 25 goals for Town, is hoping for a seventh appearance for the Canaries at home to fellow promoted side Swansea today, and is pleased with how things are going for both himself and his ninth-placed team.
“We’ve settled in the area, the club have made us feel really welcome and it’s a fantastic level to be playing at,” said the father of one.
“I’ve dreamed of paying in the Premier League ever since I started kicking a ball about, so to be actually doing it is wonderful.
“It’s testing, because the players you come up against are that bit quicker, stronger and more skilful, but at the end of the day it’s still football.”
The man who joined Town from Stockport in January 2009 added: “People talk about pressure, but it’s a privilege to be doing what I’m doing. Last time out we took on Manchester United at Old Trafford, and it doesn’t really get any better than that, does it?”
Paul Lambert’s side put up a good fight before going down 2-0 and Pilkington, who chalked up his first goal for the club in the 2-1 win at Bolton last month, firmly believes Norwich can consolidate their place in the top flight.
“It’s new to a lot of us, but there’s a great spirit about the squad and a hunger to prove ourselves,” said the player whose contract runs through to 2014 with an option for a further year.
“Now we’re at this level, we want to stay here.”