Huntington believes Boyle partnership will only get better

Preston North End's Paul Huntington challenges Blackburn Rovers' Marvin Emnes in the draw at Ewood Park.
Preston North End's Paul Huntington challenges Blackburn Rovers' Marvin Emnes in the draw at Ewood Park.
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Paul Huntington believes his partnership with Andy Boyle at the heart of the Preston defence will only go from strength to strength.

The pair have played together in the last three games with captain Tom Clarke shifting to right back as Simon Grayson looked to cover a host of injuries.

The new-look back four, with Greg Cunningham is his customary left back slot, has been in place for draws on the road against Derby and Blackburn and the 3-0 home win over Reading.

They were Boyle’s first three games for the club after his move from Dundalk while Huntington passed 350 career appearances in the Royals win.

“I’m sure he’s enjoying it, he’s done well,” said Huntington.

“He’s looked assured and hopefully we can keep building that relationship.

“The back four’s chopped and changed throughout the season with injuries and suspensions and hopefully the more we train together, the more we play together, we’ll get to know each other better.

“Having an established relationship helps.

“You know certain movements and you know what they’re going to do at certain times but it just builds up with experience, especially in this league.

“The more games you can play together, the better the understanding is.

“We’ll keep improving and looking to improve those partnerships throughout the back four, not just at centre back.”

Whether the defence stays the same when PNE return from the international break against Nottingham Forest on April 1 remains to be seen.

Having had no right backs available, Grayson is expecting Alex Baptiste, knee, and Marnick Vermijl, hernia, to be fit ahead of the final eight games of the season.