Hunti’s happy PNE away day

Simon Makienok celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Callum Robinson
Simon Makienok celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Callum Robinson
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Returning defender Paul Huntington felt Preston North End were well worth their three points at Bristol City.

After a slow start Simon Grayson’s visitors took the lead against the run of play 21 minutes in through Simon Makienok’s sixth of the season.

Chances came and went for PNE with the Robins’ improvement after the interval culminating in Aaron Wilbraham equalising on 78 minutes.

North End hit back though and Daniel Johnson’s third goal in a week sealed the points five minutes from time.

“Overall I thought it was deserved,” said Huntington, recalled in place of Bailey Wright.

“I think we probably should have been two or three up by half-time.

“After a slow start, it took us probably 10 or 15 minutes to get to grips with the game, we had some great chances on the break, winning the ball back high up the pitch.

“But while it’s still 1-0 the opposition, with some quality players, are still in the game. It’s a bit of a tricky score.

“It was similar to playing here last year.

“They came back into it and Wilbraham came on and scored then and then we nicked another one.

“On the whole, they came on stronger in the second half but I think as an away performance we’re pretty pleased.”

The giant central defender hadn’t started a game since the 6-0 EFL Cup hammering at Newcastle at the end of October.

Grayson revealed post-match that Huntington got the nod due to his aerial presence, the 29-year-old largely pleased with how his day had gone.

“I felt quite comfortable,” he said.

“It’s been a little while since I’ve started and I was thinking I might tire late on but I felt quite good.

“It’s disappointing that we conceded the goal because I thought we were quite comfortable barring maybe one chance second half.

“On the whole I thought we dealt with the threat of their strikers quite well and we bounced back and DJ popped up with the winner.”

Huntington’s return to the side could have been all the sweeter had a shot not been cleared off the line early in the second half.

Aiden McGeady’s intricate set piece missed intended target Johnson but fell for the former Leeds man, his effort being blocked by Tammy Abraham.

“That set piece wasn’t intended for me,” he said with a smile.

“I was just keeping out of the way and it just popped up so I hit it.

“I caught it okay on my left foot but it was just unlucky for me there was someone in the way.

“It would have been nice.”

As it was PNE were made to work for the points, City having enjoyed spells of pressure from the first whistle and then after their equaliser.

Huntington believes however it was another day where the team spirit the Lilywhites have become known for shone through.

“I think it shows good character in the group, we never give up,” he said.

“They had their tails up having just scored as the home side.

“And in the first 15 or 20 minutes we were just about hanging in there.

“I was saying to DJ and Ben Pearson that we just needed to weather the storm because it wasn’t going to be like that for the whole game.

“We just had to dig in and on the whole we’re really pleased and on a personal level I’m really pleased too.”