Happy Hunting!

Paul Huntington is enjoying being a starter in the Preston team again following a lengthy spell watching from the sidelines.

Thursday, 12th January 2017, 5:00 am
Paul Huntington has been back in the PNE side in recent games

The centre-half has started the last five games, having regained his place before Christmas.

Previously, Huntington had only made the starting XI twice this season in the league, against Reading on the opening day and in the 2-2 draw with Saturday’s opponents Brighton.

The build-up to the sale of Bailey Wright to Bristol City opened the door for him, Wright’s exit last week leaving Huntington and John Welsh as PNE’s longest-serving players.

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“It is nice to be back in the team and I’m enjoying getting a run,” Huntington told the Evening Post.

“The Arsenal game was a good one to play in, while in the last two league games the opposition only had one shot on target between them.

“Leeds wasn’t good on Boxing Day but otherwise we have done well recently.

“There are quite a few lads who had spells out of the team before forcing their way in.

“I remember when we lost at Brentford in September, Ben Pearson and myself were sat together in the stand not involved.

“Chances came up for us at Bournemouth in the next game and Ben hasn’t looked back since.

“The training we do here and the intensity of it, keeps us in good shape ready for when we go into the team.

“It is difficult for any player to go back in after a spell out but we all keep ourselves right. There is a good spirit among us, we all know we will be called upon at some stage so there is no point sulking.”

After running Arsenal so close in the FA Cup and all the attention that got, PNE are back on Championship duty against league leaders Brighton at Deepdale.

With the season just past the halfway mark, Preston are in 11th place and six points shy of the play-offs.

Said Huntington: “Brighton will be another tough game for us, like every other is in this division.

“They will be organised and have a lot of experience and quality in their team.

“We drew 2-2 down at their place, which was a good point.

“Hopefully over the next few weeks we can close that gap between us and sixth place.

“We are just into the second half of the season now, Burton and Sheffield Wednesday are the only sides we’ve played twice so far.

“Our challenge is to try and carry the performance against Arsenal into the league.

“We’ve been going quite well in the league, maybe with a better final pass or being a bit sharper in the box, we would have won a couple more.

“The Arsenal game is in the past now, however enjoyable and exciting it was at the time.

“Our preparations for Brighton started earlier in the week and our focus is on that.

“We won’t have Ben Pearson because of suspension but there will be someone waiting to step in.”