Town goalscorer Hylton always believed he was good enough for the Championship

Striker wants to stay fit and prove himself in the second tier now

Saturday, 18th September 2021, 8:57 am
Updated Saturday, 18th September 2021, 9:00 am
Danny Hylton makes his entrance against Bristol City on Wednesday - pic: Gareth Owen

Town striker Danny Hylton always retained the full belief that he had what it takes to be a Championship player.

The 32-year-old, who had dominated League Two for the Hatters earlier in his career, scoring 42 goals in 78 games, then had an injury-troubled time in League One, where he bagged eight in 24 outings.

Once Town reached the second tier, Hylton saw a persistent knee problem which required three operations hamper his chances of ever having a consistent run in the team playing just 27 league games in last two seasons, with a mere eight starts.

However, he has finally managed to get fit this term and after shaking off a bout of Covid as well, was on the bench for Wednesday night's trip to Bristol City, coming on midway through the second half to score the stoppage time leveller.

Manager Nathan Jones has stated Hylton has always been a Championship level striker in his eyes during his time at Kenilworth Road, and when asked if he believed that was the case also, the forward said: “Of course, I always believe, you never stop believing.

“When you have a period of time out, I never knew it until now as I never had a sustained period out, but it’s tough.

"When you’re training and playing regularly, you take it for granted as it’s your natural game, it just comes.

"You have a period out and it’s tough to find that rhythm again, which is exactly why I’m not getting ahead of myself, I'm not saying I've cracked it.

"I'm just going to keep training, keep trying to do the right things, stay injury free.

"A lot of credit goes to the physios and the S and C (strength and conditioning) coaches, I've been winding them up and doing their heads in for the last two and half years.

"Thankfully that’s over, but I'm not going to think that goal in injury time is going to get me in the team every week.

"It starts and you just have to build on it every day.

"I won’t get too excited, we've got a great squad, a great team and whoever plays I’m sure will do a good job.

"I’m just itching to stay involved and carry on, stay injury free too."

Hylton’s big moment when it came saw the forward tap into an empty net from all of two yards after Robins keeper Dan Bentley went walkabout under pressure from Elijah Adebayo, allowing Carlos Mendes Gomes to cross for what will surely be one the most popular goals this term.

On what flashed through his mind when the opportunity arose, the former Oxford and Aldershot frontman continued: “I was just hoping a defender didn’t come in and clear it from the other side if I’m honest!

"You’re just thinking 'tap it in', you just dream and you‘re hoping it fell there and it did.

"Carlos did great, Elijah had a great impact when he came on as well, so it was me that scores.

“That’s probably what I needed, fall on the line and just tap it in, it’s great.

"It was something I’ve thought about for a long time, it’s taken a long time to come, but glad it has.

"It doesn’t matter about me though, it's a great point.

"We probably deserved more out of the game, against a big club, but it shows how far we’ve come in this league as we’re coming here, we’re not just competing, I feel like we’re being the better teams against established Championship teams."

Now in his second full season back in charge, Jones has looked to bolster his forward options, as he brought in Adebayo last season, then allowed top scorer James Collins to move to Cardiff City, before adding Cameron Jerome and Admiral Muskwe in the summer.

Hylton knows with the extra quality upfront, he has a battle to break into the side, adding: "We’ve always had good options in the attacking area and probably the best now this year.

"You look at some of the players we have, you have to be at it every day in training, you have to raise your level in training as the level has gone up since we’ve been in League Two and League One.

"We keep getting better and you have to get better to stay in this team.

"So that’s exactly what me and everyone else are trying to do, try and improve every day and get better.”