Back in 2006, the winger was plying his trade for non-league Atherton Colleries - just a stone's throw away from Bolton's home.
Rejected by Manchester United and boyhood favourites Blackburn, Pilkington could easily have thrown in the towel.
But instead he dusted himself down and signed for the tiny North West Counties League club, who attract gates of less than 100.
The 23-year-old, who also had spells with Stockport and Huddersfield, said: "I like to think I've worked really hard to get here.
"I still keep in touch with my old manager from Atherton Colls - it was all part of my learning process in the game.
"I was prepared to drop right down to the basement and then climbed up the pyramid again. As low down as it was, it really helped me. Now I've got the chance to play in the Premier League and I'm going to take it with both hands.
"All my family were in the crowd to see my goal. It was a bit scrappy but I'll take it. Nobody is going to take it off me."